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1 878-9. 



or THB 







Claim nan (iaftjpl an iuailkn a' 









Office-bearers for 1879, vii. 

Constitution, : viii. 

Introduction, . xiii. 

Seventh Annual Assembly Speeches by Mr. John Mackay 

and Rev. Alexander Macgregor, .... 1 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio, third series William 

Mackenzie, ........ 18 

Seventh Annual Dinner Speeches by Sir Kenneth Mac- 
kenzie, Kev. Alexander Macgregor, Mr. William 
Mackay, Mr. John Macdonald, Mr. Mackay of 
Ben Reay, Mr. John Whyte, Eev. A. D. Mackenzie, 
Mr. Colin Chisholm, Mr. W. JoUy, &c., ... 33 
The Monks of lona Colin Chisholm, . . . .56 

The Celtic Province of Moray James Barren, ... 64 
The Cosmos of the Ancient Gaels in its relation to their 

Ethics, Part II Donald Boss, .... 77 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio, fourth series William 

Mackenzie, ...... .100 

Mackay's Regiment John Mackay, . 

Celtic Etymologies C. S. Jerram, . .189 

Honorary Chieftains, ...... 205 

Life Members, ..... 205 

Honorary Members, ... 205 

Ordinary Members, .207 


Deceased Members of the Society, 

List of Books in the Society's Library, , , , ,215 

(Saelw cSocietjr of 



YEAR 1879, 

Lachlan Macdonald of Skaebost. 


Alexander Simpson, Provost of Inverness. 
Charles Mackay, Culduthel Road. 
John Macdonald, Merchant, Exchange. 

William Mackay, Solicitor, Church Street. 

William Mackenzie, "Free Press" Office, Inverness. 

Geo. J. Campbell, Solicitor, Castle Street. 


Donald Campbell, Draper, Bridge Street. 

John Murdoch, "Highlander" Office, Inverness. 

James Eraser, C.E. 

Colin Chisholm, Namur Cottage. 

William Macdonald, Builder, Hilton. 

John Whyte, "Highlander" Office. 

Mrs. Mary Mackellar. 

Pipe-Major Alexander Maclennan. 

The Caledonian Banking Company. 



1. 'S e aimn a' Chomuinn " COMUNN 

2. 'S e tha an run a' Chomuinn : Na buill a dheanamh 
iomlan 'sa' Ghailig; cinneas Canaine, Bardachd, agus Ciuil na 
Gaidhealtachd ; Bardachd, Seanachas, Sgeulachd, Leabhraichean 
agus Sgriobhanna 's a' chanain sin a thearnadh o dhearmad; 
Leabhar-lann a chur suas ann am baile Inbhir-Nis de leabhraichibh 
agus sgriobhannaibh ann an canain sam bith a bhuineas do 
Chaileachd, lonnsachaidh, Eachdraidheachd agus Sheanachasaibh 
nan Gaidheal no do thairbhe na Gaidhealtachd ; c6ir agus cliu nan 
Gaidheal a dhion ; agus na Gaidheil a shoirbheachadh a ghna ge 
b'e ait am bi iad. 

3. 'S iad a bhitheas 'nam buill, cuideachd a tha gabhail suim 
do runtaibh a' Chomuinn, agus so mar gheibh iad a staigh: 
Tairgidh aon bhall an t-iarradair, daingnichidh ball eile an tairgse, 
agus, aig an ath choinneamh, ma roghnaicheas a' mhor-chuid le 
crannchur, nithear ball dhith-se no dheth-san cho luath 's a 
phaidhear an chomhthoirt ; cuirear crainn le ponair dhubh agus 
gheal, ach, gu so bhi dligheach, feumaidh tri buill dheug an crainn 
a chur. Feudaidh an Comunn Urram Cheannardan a thoirt do 
urrad 'us seachd daoine cliuiteach. 

4. Paidhidh Ball Urramach, 'sa' bhliadhna .010 6 
Ball Cumanta . . . . . .050 

Foghlainte 010 

Agus ni Ball-beatha aon chomh-thoirt de . 770 

5. 'S a' Cheud-mhios, gach bliadhna, roghnaichear, le crainn, 
Co-chomhairle a riaghlas gnothuichean a' Chomuinn, 's e sin aon 
Cheann, tri lar-chinn, Cleireach Urramach, Runaire, lonmhasair, 
agus coig buill eile feumaidh iad uile Gailig a thuigsinn 's a 
bhruidhmn ; agus ni coigear dhiubh coinneamh, 



1. The Society shall be called the "GAELIC SOCIETY OP 

2. The objects of the Society are the perfecting of the Mem- 
bers in the use of the Gaelic language; the cultivation of the 
language, poetry, and music of the Scottish Highlands ; the res- 
cuing from oblivion of Celtic poetry, traditions, legends, books, 
and manuscripts; the establishing in Inverness of a library, to 
consist of books and manuscripts, in whatever language, bearing 
upon the genius, the literature, the history, the antiquities, and 
the material interests of the Highlands and Highland people ; the 
vindication of the rights and character of the Gaelic people ; and, 
generally, the furtherance of their interests whether at home or 

3. The Society shall consist of persons who take a lively in- 
terest in its objects, admission to be as follows : The candidate 
shall be proposed by one member, seconded by another, balloted 
for at the next meeting, and, if he or she have a majority of votes 
and have paid the subscription, be declared a member. The ballot 
shall be taken with black beans and white ; and no election shall 
be valid unless thirteen members vote. The Society has power to 
elect distinguished men as Honorary Chieftains to the number of 

4. The Annual Subscription shall be, for 

Honorary Members . . . . 10 6 
Ordinary Members . . . . 050 

Apprentices 010 

A Life Member shall make one payment of 7 7 

5. The management of the affairs of the Society shall be en- 
trusted to a Council, chosen annually, by ballot, in the month of 
January, to consist of a Chief, three Chieftains, an Honorary 
Secretary, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and five other Members of the 
Society, all of whom shall understand and sper.k Gaelic ; five to 
form a quorum. 


6. Cumar coinneamhan a' Chomuinn gach seachduin o thois- 
each an Deicheamh mios gu deireadh Mhairt, agus gach ceithir- 
la-deug o thoiseach Ghiblein gu deireadh an Naothamh-mios. '8 
i a' Ghailig a labhairear gach oidhche mu'n seach aig a chuid a's 

7. Cuiridh a' Cho-chomhairle la air leth anns an t-Seachdamh- 
mios air-son Coinneamh Bhliadhnail aig an cumar Co-dheuchainn 
agus air an toirear duaisean air-son Piobaireachd 'us ciuil Ghaidh- 
ealach eile ; anns an fheasgar bithidh co-dheuchainn air Leughadh 
agus aithris Bardachd agus Rosg nuadh agus taghta ; an deigh sin 
cumar Cuirm chuideachdail aig am faigh nithe Gaidhealach rogh- 
ainn 'san uirghioll, ach gun roinn a dhiultadh dhaibh-san nach tuig 
Gailig. Giulainear cosdas na co-dheucliainne le trusadh sonraichte 
a dheanamh agus cuideachadh iarraidh o'n t-sluagh. 

8. Cha deanar atharrachadh sam bith air coimh dhealbhadh a' 
Chomuinn gun aontachadh dha thrian de na'm bheil de luchd- 
bruidhinn Gailig air a' chlar-ainm. Ma's miann atharrachadh a 
dheanamh a's eiginn sin a chur an ceill do gach ball, mios, aig a' 
chuid a's lugha, roimh'n choinneamh a dh'fheudas ant-atharrachadh 
a dheanamh. Feudaidh ball nach bi a lathair roghnachadh le 

9. Taghaidh an Comunn Bard, Piobaire, agus Fear-leabhar- 

Ullaichear gach Paipear agus Leughadh, agus giulainear gach 
Deasboireachd le run fosgailte, duineil, durachdach air-son na 
firimi, agus cuirear gach ni air aghaidh aim an spiorad caomh, 
glan, agus a reir riaghailtean dearbhta. 


6. The Society shall hold its meetings weekly from the begin- 
ning of October to the end of March, and fortnightly from the 
beginning of April to the end of September. The business shall 
be carried on in Gaelic on every alternate night at least. 

7. There shall be an Annual Meeting in the month of July, 
the day to be named by the Committee for the time being, when 
Competitions for Prizes shall take place in Pipe and other High- 
land Music. In the evening there shall be Competitions in Read- 
ing and Reciting Gaelic Poetry and Prose, both original and select. 
After which there will be a Social Meeting, at which Gaelic sub- 
jects shall have the preference, but not to such an extent as 
entirely to preclude participation by persons who do not under- 
stand Gaelic. The expenses of the competitions shall be defrayed 
out of a special fund, to which the general public shall be invited 
to subscribe. 

8. It is a fundamental rule of the Society that no part of the 
Constitution shall be altered without the assent of two-thirds of 
the Gaelic speaking Members on the roll ; but if any alterations 
be required due notice of the same must be given to each member, 
at least one month before the meeting takes place at which the 
alteration is proposed to be made. Absent Members may vote by 

9. The Society shall elect a Bard, a Piper, and a Librarian. 

All Papers and Lectures shall be prepared, and all Discussions 
carried on, with an honest, earnest, and manful desire for truth ; 
and all proceedings shall be conducted in a pure and gentle spirit, 
and according to the usually recognised rules. 


IN presenting the Members with the eighth volume of the Society's 
Transactions a few general remarks relative to the work of our last 
session, and the present state of Celtic matters, may not be out of 

The volume opens with a report of our Seventh Annual 
Assembly, which, it will be seen, was in every way a success 
its only drawback being the unavoidable absence of the Chief. 
After it we had a large accession to cur membership, and the 
Society was meeting with the utmost encouragement when the 
country was overtaken by the financial disasters which have, for 
some time past, so much engrossed the public mind. As might 
naturally be expected that, combined with a winter of unprecedented 
severity, interfered to a considerable degree with the number 
and success of our meetings during the first half of the session. 

In January last the Annual Dinner was held. Sir Kenneth 
Mackenzie of Gairloch, presided, and delivered an excellent 
address on the crofter, as he was and as he is. There was, notwith- 
standing the untoward state of matters throughout the country, 
a large attendance, and several excellent speeches were delivered. 
From that date onwards our meetings went on with uninterrupted 
success. They were all fairly well attended, and papers on a 
variety of subjects of interest to the Celt were read and discussed. 
These will be found in the present volume, 


It may not be out of place to add (although it does not 
properly come within the scope of this volume) that the Eighth 
Annual Assembly was probably the most successful ever held under 
the auspices of the Society. The Chief, Mr. Lachlan Macdonald 
of Skaebost, presided, and among his supporters were Professor 
Blackie ; Eev. Alex. Macgregor, Inverness ; Eev. Alex. Cameron, 
Brodick, and many other well-known Celts. The hall was every- 
where crowded, and many were unable to gain admission. The 
programme was varied and interesting, and the proceedings through- 
out hearty, and of the most enjoyable character. 

With regard to Celtic work elsewhere, a few facts relative to 
Celtic publications will illustrate its present activity. Mr. Archi- 
bald Sinclair, of Glasgow, has just published his popular collection of 
Gaelic songs An t-Oranaiche in a cheap handy form ; and Messrs. 
Logan & Co., of Aberdeen and Inverness, are now publishing a 
series of Gaelic songs with English translations, arranged with 
symphonies and accompaniments for the pianoforte. The same firm 
have acquired Captain Eraser's collection of Highland airs, and 
re-issued it in handsome tartan binding. Mr. I^oble, bookseller, 
Inverness, has published a revised edition of Mr. Lachlan Macbean's 
Easy Lessons in Gaelic ; whilst Messrs. Maclachlan & Stewart, of 
Edinburgh, have published the first part of a similar work by 
Mr. D. C. Macpherson. Major Mackenzie, of Findon, has published 
a series of Genealogical Tables of the Clan Mackenzie, and Mr. 
Alex. Mackenzie, of the Celtic Magazine, a handsome volume on the 
history of the same Clan. The latter gentleman is now publishing 
a history of the Clan Macdonald, and proposes to re-issue shortly 
General Stewart's Sketches of the Highlanders, bringing the history 
of the Highland regiments down to date. A bulky and interesting 
volume on " Loch Etive and the Sons of Uisneach " (said to be 


written by Dr. Angus Smith, of Manchester), has recently been 
published by Messrs. Macmillan & Co. ; and the same publishers 
are preparing a volume on Celtic Literature, to form one of their 
series of Literature Primers. Mrs. Mackellar, the Bard of our 
Society, has a volume of her Gaelic and English poetry in the 
press, which will be welcomed by a wide circle of readers ; and 
the same may be said of a collection of Gaelic Proverbs and familiar 
phrases, based on Mackintosh's collection, which is being issued 
under the scholarly care of Sheriff Nicolson, of Kirkcudbright. 
The Eev. Alex. Cameron, Brodick, proposes to publish a new 
quarterly, to be called The Celtic Review; and altogether Celtic 
scholarship in every department appears to be both active and 

In all the large towns of the south, our countrymen have formed 
themselves into organizations similar to our own ; arid in some 
places notably in Glasgow they hold weekly meetings, at which 
they not only discuss different questions affecting the welfare of the 
Highlands, but also spend enjoyable evenings in illustrating the 
song and the dance of our ancestors. 

The out-door amusements of the Gael have also undergone a 
revival, and Camanachd or Ionian appears to be the favourite 
athletic game of our countrymen in the south. 

Altogether the lover of Celtic matters has no reason to despond. 

INVERNESS, Dec. 4, 1879. 



The Seventh Annual Assembly of the Society was held in the 
Music Hall, on Thursday, July 11, 1878. There was a large at- 
tendance. The Chief of the Society, Mr. John Mackay, of Swan- 
sea, was to have presided, but, to the great regret of all, he was 
unable to attend. The following letter addressed by him to the 
Secretary was at the outset read to the meeting : 

" Eogart House, 

"Swansea, 9th July, 1878. 

" My dear Sir, I am grieved to have to tell that I am now 
more than a week lying ill in bed, attended daily by a doctor, thus 
precluding all hope of my being in my place at the Annual Assem- 
bly of the Gaelic Society on the llth. 1 need not assure you how 
deeply distressed I am at this disappointment. Seeing the impos- 
sibility and hopelessness of attending in person, I send you by post 
draft of the address I intended to deliver, that you may do with it 
what you please. If it is thought worth to read it, perhaps Mr. 
Murdoch may be persuaded to do so. He is ever ready to assist a 
Highlander in distress. As you will see, the theme is a review of 
the Society's work from its beginning to the present time credit- 
able to the Society itself, and to the town in which it has its head- 

" I am conscious of how imperfectly I related the good work done 
by the Society, and the influence it exerted during its seven years 
of existence ; but when it is considered that the relation was strung 
together at different intervals on a sick bed, after all hopes of per- 
sonal attendance had to be given up, I trust all imperfections and 
omissions may be overlooked, and the will to do justice to the 
patriotic 'work of the Society taken for the deed. 

" Sincerely hoping the Seventh Annual Assembly may be a 

2 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

great success, and give a farther impetus to the intelligent patriotism 
of the members of the Society, 

" I remain, my dear Sir, 

" Yours very faithfully, 

" William Mackenzie, Esq." 

Mr. Murdoch then proposed that Captain Macra Chisholm, who 
had so very excellently presided at the last celebration of the So- 
ciety, should take the chair, which Captain Chisholm did amid loud 
cheering. Around him on the platform were Provost Simpson, 
Eev. A. Macgregor, M.A. ; Bailie Black ; Messrs. D. Sharp, Glas- 
gow ; John Mackay, of Ben Eeay ; .D. A. Macrae, Monar ; E. Mac- 
rae, Ardtulloch ; Dun Macrae, Ardantoul ; E. Macrae, Braintra ; 
Huntly Eraser, Inverness ; Colin Chisholm, Namur Cottage ; 
A. Mackenzie, Celtic Magazine; "Wm. Mackay, solicitor; Charles 
Mackay ; J. Murdoch, of The Highlander, &c. 

The Secretary, Mr. Wm. Mackenzie, announced apologies for 
absence from Cluny Macpherson ; Sir Kenneth S. Mackenzie of 
Gairloch ; Sir George Macpherson-Grant of Ballindalloch ; Lord 
Keidhaven ; Mackintosh of Mackintosh; C. Eraser-Mackintosh, M..P. ; 
Donald Mackay, Ceylon ; Thos. Mackenzie, Broadstone Park ; Angus 
Mackintosh of Holme ; C. S. Jerram, Windlesham ; E. Mackintosh 
of Eaigmore ; J. F. Campbell of Islay ; Dr. Charles Mackay ; Col. 
Mackenzie oi Parkmount ; Bailie Macdonald, Aberdeen ; Major 
Forbes, 78th Highlanders ; Walter Carruthers, of the Courier; 
Charles Innes, solicitor ; P. Burgess, Drumnadrochit ; K. F. Mac- 
rae, Achlorachan ; and A. G. Nicolson, Glasgow. The following 
Gaelic telegram was also announced from Mrs. Mary Mackellar, 
the bard of the Society : " Beannachd a' Bhaird do 'n Chomunn. 
Duilich nach 'eil mi leibh. Sith agus pailteas, gradh agus solas 
duibh ! " 

The Chairman having made a few preliminary observations, a 
party of ladies appeared on the platform and sang with good effect 
" H6 'n clo dubh, b' fhearr am breacan." 

The Chief's address was then read by Mr. Murdoch as fol- 
lows : 

We are met here this evening to celebrate the Seventh Annual 
Assembly of this honourable and patriotic Society, which has now 
entered into the outer ring of the mystical cycle of time the 
seventh year of its duration. It has succeeded in doing a great 
amount of good and earnest patriotic work among Highlanders at 
home and abroad. It has aroused feelings of patriotism amongst 

Annual Assembly. 3 

all classes, which were well nigh becoming dormant. It has excited 
to healthy action the minds of many true lovers of their fatherland, 
who began to despair of the Highlands ever again being anything 
more than a huge hunting ground and immense farms the abode 
of Mmrods, shepherds, or debased mammon-worshippers. It has 
animated the hearts of those patriots who uselessly gave themselves 
up to lamentations upon the decay of all that was best, dearest, and 
noblest in the past, who bewailed the loss of a population at once 
the most loyal, the most law-abiding, and the bravest in any land, 
who mourned over ths neglect and disuse of the language, poetry, 
and music of their native country, and above all, and more than 
all, who grieved with heartfelt sadness over the seeming divorce of 
that grand old attachment that existed between chiefs and people, 
and that caused the " Land of the Mountain and the Flood " to be 
viewed with as intense a curiosity by strangers, as the extraordinary 
profusion and diversity on its surface of all that is beautiful and 
sublime in nature, commanded their unqualified admiration. All 
this and more, has been effected by the action of the Gaelic Society 
of Inverness. Since the establishment of this Society an impetus 
has been given to Highland sentiment in a manner the most healthy, 
such as it never before possessed or assumed in any previous period. 
The desponding have been encouraged, the doubting have been re- 
assured, the lukewarm have been stimulated, the generous have been 
animated, while the croaker and the inimical have been put to 
silence. The Language and the Poetry of the country have been 
fostered, and made to hold up their venerable heads under its fos- 
tering auspices. The music of the Highlands, once reputed barbar- 
ous, has been popularised, and found to be simply delicious, even 
in its wildest and weirdest strains. The general result has been 
that a manly, healthy, active spirit has been aroused, an ardent de- 
sire to forward measures for the benefit of all classes, high or low, 
and more especially to cultivate the Language and Literature of the 
Highlands, which to the utter disgrace of past generations of High- 
landers had been so wofully neglected. Papers on these various 
topics, interesting from every point of view, have been read, and 
published in the " Transactions," which of themselves would do 
credit to any society. Addresses have also been delivered by vari- 
ous learned gentlemen, at the half-yearly meetings, of the deepest 
interest to society at large, and affording enjoyment and recreation 
of the most healthful kind to the people of Inverness, and to all 
Highlanders wherever located a chain of circumstances which, a 
few years ago, it would have been considered madness to attempt, 
much less to believe possible to encompass. The Gaelic Society of 

4 Gaelic Society of Inverness- 

Inverness has deserved well of the country, and all true lovers of 
the Fatherland. 

Following in the train of this revival appeared " The High- 
lander," devoting his service to the welfare of the people, preaching 
to them, and teaching them the relative duties all members of a 
prosperous community owe to each other, and are bound for the 
common good and welfare of the State to concede to each other, 
in order to be united, strong, useful, and happy ; holding aloft, with 
all the fearlessness of his nature, the grand traditions of the past 
as objects of reverence and example, to be moulded into the new 
order of things about to be accomplished showing that the strength 
of a community does not entirely lie in money-bags, nor in the pros- 
perity of one or two of the less numerous classes, but in the general 
prosperity of all ranks and degrees of men, and that in a well-ordered 
community the peer and the peasant can exist side by side, and be 
all the happier and better ; exposing, without fear of consequences, at 
the bar of public opinion all that is antagonistic to real progress in 
class legislation, all antiquated ideas, notions, and excesses in 
feudalism, which are detrimental to the growth of a vigorous and 
virtuous population in the Highlands ; encouraging the remnant 
left of that once brave population to hold up their heads like their 
forefathers in the days of other years, and be depressed no more, but 
manfully seek for redress of their grievances directly from those who 
have it in their power to grant it, and be neither curs nor moral 
cowards in the face of the biggest and greatest in the land men of 
like flesh and blood as themselves who will do the right thing 
when properly influenced and advised. 

We were not long exulting in the conduct of this champion 
when another made his appearance upon the scene, visiting our 
houses every month, with ever new and varied refreshments of the 
daintiest kind History, Folklore, Legends, Poetry, and Music. 
He, too, has a strong cudgel in his hand, which he wields like a 
master, and surprised many by boldly asserting, without fear of con- 
tradiction, that the " Highland crofter " was the most depressed, 
oppressed, and repressed member of the great British nation ; that 
there was neither " Poetry nor Prose " in his lot, that the time 
had come either to ameliorate his condition or banish him for ever 
to the backwoods of America, to add to the strength and power of 
Brother Jonathan, or to assist Miss Columbia in her onward pro- 
gress, and wipe away the stigma ever exposed to view on the bonnie 
braes and hill-sides of Gaeldom. The refrain of this " ditty" has 
been taken up and echoed from Land's End to John O'Groats, from 
the Scotsman in Edinburgh to the Echo in London town, with a 
bewildering, though diversifying, unanimity. 

Annual Assembly. 5 

The grievances complained of were admitted to be of long 
standing, known to all, patent to all, acknowledged to be unde- 
served mildly, and sometimes unmurmuringly, borne, and above 
all, however much might may have overborne right, powder and shot 
were never thought of as a means of redress, nor as instruments 
of revenge. All honour to the brave population who know how to 
endure without disgracing their bright escutcheon ! The time is at 
hand when their case will have consideration. " The darkness of 
to-day will issue in a brighter to-morrow." "Wait a little longer." 

A third champion came upon the scene, more doughty still, 
with a double-edged sword, as well as with a grey goose quill. He 
took nobles, gentles, and simples captive, stormed strongholds, 
castles, and halls ; nothing withstood him. Go on he would, was 
welcomed by all, and sent away rejoicing. He was the champion 
of the " Gaelic Language and Literature," as well as the champion 
of all Gaelic-speaking people. When all others despaired of raising 
the necessary funds for the establishment of a Celtic Chair, when 
others attempted and failed, the fearless and gallant Blackie took 
his crook and plaid, went forth upon his Gaelic crusade, and suc- 
ceeded, after an arduous struggle, in securing more than he antici- 
pated 12,000 for the endowment of a professorship of that 
ancient and venerable language we all love so well. Such is the 
reward of bravery and perseverance in a good cause. Such are a 
few of the phases in modern history, the origin of which, date from 
the banks of the Ness through the medium of the Gaelic Society. 

There is yet another important event that must be mentioned 
in passing, in connection with this Society and others of kindred 
blood the introduction of Gaelic teaching in Highland Schools. 
It is said that the pronunciation of English amongst the people of 
Inverness has been, and is still justly noted for its intrinsic purity, 
and for its being little, if at all, affected by such broad doric pro- 
vincialisms as are everywhere impressed on the varieties of the 
Lowland dialect. This comparatively correct and elegant English 
you have acquired purer by far than that of most parts of England 
itself is, by some, ascribed to the modelling influence of Cromwell's 
soldiery when they were amongst you. The true reason and cause 
of it are not so far to be sought, for it seems rather to have arisen, 
and to be yet arising from the fact of your English being acquired, 
not by lessons of imitation, but by and through the process of 
translating from your mother tongue, the venerable Gaelic, a cir- 
cumstance which conduces not to* a corrupt spoken language, but 
directly to the pure English literature. It is said that the debatable 
ground in the west of Ireland, between the Irish districts and the 

6 Gaelic Socieiy of Inverness. 

Anglo-Irish territories, exhibit the same phenomenon as Scotland 
has in Inverness, for there is poured forth from the lips of the 
peasantry an English so untainted hy brogue and provincialism as 
would delight the ears of a master of orthoepy. In the nature of 
things it must be so wherever the vernacular itself is properly 
taught and the English learned through the vernacular, their idioms 
contrasted, and their differences pointed out by a master teacher. 

What about the " Gaelic Nuisance " now 1 It has fallen to 
the ground, vainly hoping in its fall, like the Ostrich in its flight, 
to escape the critical gaze, by the pretence of not seeing what any 
unprejudiced person could not avoid seeing, as being the end and 
aim of Gaelic teaching in Highland Schools. A mistake more 
monstrous was never made by any body of sensible and enlightened 
gentlemen, ministers of the Church of Scotland, men of education, 
in whose hands the direction of education was placed by the 
Government of the day, than was committed in the Highlands in 
the 18th and part of the 19th century. All along the line, and 
all the way along, the invariable plan was to ignore the vernacular, 
and attempt to educate the youth through the medium only of a 
language of which 'they absolutely knew nothing. They were 
taught to read, not to comprehend, the book, or the words of which 
it was composed, but to imitate sounds, and to repeat the deciphering 
of signs belonging to a language of which they were totally ignorant, 
but which they were supposed to be learning, and when they left 
school they found themselves possessed of acquirements which they 
were utterly incapable of turning to practical account. That was 
not the way the Inverness people acquired such a correct and so 
pure a hold of the English language and its pronunciation. The 
important event alluded to having been accomplished (and in which 
this Society, in conjunction with kindred Societies, may take a just 
pride), it was very flattering that the Inverness people should have 
joyfully and demonstratively acclaimed that event, and thanked 
their learned M.P. for the manner in which he carried out and 
negotiated the concession of Gaelic being taught in the public 
schools of the Highlands wherever wanted, wherever needful. You 
appreciated the virtue of the vernacular in your own education, 
and the command it gave you in the proper appreciation and under- 
standing of the English, and you hurled back to where it came 
from the stigma of the "Gaelic Nuisance." 

Another good thing done by the Society was the laying of a 
basis for a Federation of Celtic Societies, as was done at the 
" Mackintosh Demonstration " in April last, at which you celebrated 
the Government concession of Gaelic being taught in the Highland 

Annual Assembly. 7 

Schools. In that you took the detached fragments of Celtic So- 
cieties and united them, that they might pull together shoulder to 
shoulder, in carrying on the noble work which you have so well 

The great victory you then celebrated was partly your own 
work, the work of various Societies, and, more than all, the work 
of the Eight Kev. Dr. Maclauchlan and other able coadjutors. 
Now, do not be alarmed at the title I have given the reverend 
gentleman. I do not wish him to become a bishop. You know, 
as a Highlander, I may be allowed to use a little hyperbole ; but 
there is no exaggeration at all in the meaning I wish to convey to 
you by calling him Eight Reverend, for of all the clergymen of the 
Churches of Scotland Free or otherwise (I wish there was no dis- 
tinction) he is, above all, the one who has done most for the culti- 
vation and culture of our venerable language ; he, of all others, by 
virtue of good work, by dint of labour and hard study, when it was 
not fashionable to do it, contributed more than any other living 
man to bring our native language into repute, knocked again 
and again at the citadel gate, and finally, with the aid of Mr. Fraser- 
Mackintosh, wrested victory from an unwilling oligarchy at a 
moment when the smallest concession was almost despaired of a 
victory no less real, no less useful, in fact much more useful, a 
greater boon to Highland society at large than the repeal of the 
Act proscribing the tartan, once the terror, now the delight, of the 
Saxon himself. Who would have thought, seven years ago, that 
the Parliament of Britain could be brought by the expression of 
public opinion to concede even a grievance in Highland education. 
Take courage, watch events, wait and keep your powder dry, for 
other measures of great importance to the Highlands are looming 
in the horizon. The long-wished boon is obtained ; let it be put 
properly and thoroughly into play and practice, and before another 
cycle of seven years shall have revolved we shall see Highland lads 
and Highland lasses making greater progress in learning English, 
acquiring such a pronunciation of it as may astonish even the 
people of Inverness, and not only that, but their knowledge of the 
language of their ancestors will, as well, be enlarged and perfected, 
and their minds stored with all the noble traditions of the past. 

"With renewed vigour, and redoubled ardour, youths of the 
Highlands will go forth, as in days gone by, to carve a way for 
themselves in the battle of life, more fully and better equipped for 
the strife by being bi-lingual and tri-lingual, and, by their good 
conduct, complete education, hardy habits, high moral principles, 
acquire credit for themselves, while reflecting honour upon the loved 

8 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Fatherland. Permit me emphatically to say that Gaelic has teen 
no " bar" to the advancement of the people. Gaelic is the key to 
a Highlander's heart. If officers in Highland regiments would try 
to speak Gaelic, they would secure more recruits, and Highland 
regiments might indeed he national corps, and not the hybrids they 
now are. Officers who speak Gaelic to Highland soldiers command 
their affection like the late General MacBean, V.C., of the 93rd 
Highlanders, an Inverness man. If Highland proprietors would 
try to learn Gaelic, and speak it to their people, they would be 
better liked. English is a " bar" to their advancement if they can- 
not speak to those who pay them their rents. Let Highland pro- 
prietors learn Gaelic and teach English. Gaelic in the hands of a 
patriotic proprietor would be a powerful lever to induce the people 
to improve their lands and dwellings in fact, it would represent 
so much capital to him. 

Property in the Highlands, as elsewhere, has its high duties as 
well as its rights. In the Highlands, it may be said, that it has 
more duties to perform in regard to the people than elsewhere, in- 
as-much as it was by the valour and exceeding loyalty of the people 
that estates had been preserved to so many families in the High- 
lands for so many centuries, through all the vicissitudes of fortune, 
and it is the undoubted duty of the Highland Chiefs, the heads of 
these families, to show their gratitude to the descendants of those 
noble retainers who shed their blood in the cause of these families, 
by now training them in a better knowledge of husbandry, in ap- 
plying to it the science and skill of the South, and causing them to 
be brought to bear on every croft in the North. Practical educa- 
tion in this department has been sadly neglected in the Highlands, 
as much to the loss of the proprietors as to the detriment of the 
people. The object of all education should be not less to excite the 
desire for knowledge than to furnish the means of acquiring it. In 
this respect, education in the Highlands has been greatly deficient. 
Instruction in agriculture, in the management of stock, in common 
chemistry as applied to soils, would facilitate the production of the 
means of subsistence. A more secure tenure of the land occupied 
by the peasantry would tend to make them industrious and respect- 
able crofters, more diligent and more successful cultivators of the 
soil ; but the effect of all such measures depends upon the spirit and 
the manner in which they are entered upon, as well as the general 
management with which they are conducted through a series of 
years. Some Highland proprietors in recent years, notably the 
noble Sutherland, the Mathesons, the Grants, have not only dis- 
tinguished themselves by their considerate and kindly treatment of 

A nnual A ssembly. 9 

their peasant tenantry, but have shown how properties in the 
Highlands can be improved, affording employment to the people, 
dispensing benefits broadcast over the land, adding wealth and 
stability to the State, and acquiring for themselves the respect of 
all, and the affection of the people. These are benefactors in the 
land, they build up a loftier population, they make men more 
manly. Their influence passes like morning light from land to 
land, and village and city grow glad. May this Society continue to 
diffuse around it these influences and be a light in the Highlands to 
guide the race in the path of social, moral, and intellectual progress, 
until Highlanders everywhere shall be as distinguished for all the 
virtues which are the flower and fruit of real civilization, as their 
fathers were for the virtue of bravery and chivalry in the times 
that are past. And in order to this, let us remember the noble and 
brotherly motto of Clanna nan Gaidheal an guaillibh a' cheile. 

The next speaker was the Kev. Mr. Macgregor. He said : 

Fhir-suidh' Urramaich, a Bhantighearnan, agus a Dhaoin- 
uaisle, Tha mi 'g iarraidh maitheanais oirbh, an uair a tha mi 
'gabhail orm fein dithis dhaoine coire a thoirt am fianuis a' Cho- 
muinn so air an oidhche nochd dithis dhaoine a tha cliuiteach agus 
measail na'n inbh fein dithis dhaoine aig am bheil fior speis-cridhe 
do na Gaidheil agus do'n Ghailig agus dithis a rinn dichioll nach 
bu bheag gu bhi 'lathair an so an nochd, chum eolas fhaotuinn air 
a' Chomunn so, agus chum am beachd d'an taobh a leigeadh ris gu 
soilleir. Cha'n 'eil teagamh nach 'eil cuid a lathair 'san am, aig an 
robh eolas o cheann bhliadhnaichean air ais air an da charaid chean- 
alta so, eadhon Murachadh Ban, agus Coinneach Ciobair, leis am 
miann a nis beagan a labhairt r'a cheile 'nur n-eisdeachd, mu na 
cuisean air son am bheil sinn cuideachd 'san talladh so an uochd. 
Thugaibh cluas, uime sin, do na fir. 

Mur " Am bheil mo shuilean ga m' mhealladh, a Choinnich 
Chiobair, an tusa da-rireadh th'an sol" 

Coin. " Is ini gun teagamh, a Mhurachaidh Bhain. ach ciod fo'n 
ghrein a thug an car so thusa, agus gun duil agad ris, an uair a 
chunnaic mi an la roimh thu?" 

M. " Thainig mi a dh-aon sgriob a dh'fhaicinn a' Chomuinn 
so cruinn cuideachd, agus a shealbhachadh am fearas bheoil agus 
an deasboireachd ; ach ciod a thug thusa, a Choinnich, co fad o d' 
dhachaidh fein ? Is neonach gu'n do leig Seonaid air falbh thu leat 

C. " Ma ta, a Mhurachaidh, cho-eignich na h-uiread de nith- 
ibh mise chum an Goirtean-Fraoich fhagail aig an am so. Bha 
mi deonach air Baile-cinn na Gaidhealtachd fhaicinn, agus mar an 

10 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

ceudna Chomunn Gailig Iubhirnis,gu sonraichte an t-Ard-Albannach, 
an Geilteachj agus an t-Uasal Ian Macaoidh, Fear-suidh' na cui- 
deachd. Ach cha robh dull idir agam ri tighinn gus an d'rainig 
Sir Seumas mi an la roimh, agus gus an dubhairt e, ' A Choinnich, 
tha Feill na Cloimhe ann an Inbhirnis air a' leithid so de latha 
agus feumaidh tu dol agus an tri cheud molt sin a reiceadh air mo 
shonsa air an fheill.' " 

M. " An do reic thu iad, ma ta, a Choinnich, a cheana?" 

C. " Is mise a rinn sin agus a rinn gu maith e ; oir fhuair mi 
cuig ceud punnd Sasunnach air son an tri cheud molt! Ach, 
ochan ! a' Mhurachaidh, cha'n f hacas a leithid a dh-fheill riamh ! 
Na c^udan a' siubhal sios agus suas agus thall 'sa bhos a' suidh' - 
a' seasamh a' cas-labhairt a' ciuin-chomhradh a nis a' gleadh- 
raich a ris agus a' gluasad gun sgur air sraid na h-Eaglais, ach a' 
gabhail fasgaidh, agus feudaidh e bhith rud beag air chor-eigin eila 
anns an ard-thigh-osda far am faighear gach goireas a tha freagar- 
rach air son fuachd agus teas air son ocrais agus tart agus air son 
gach ni eile a tha feumail do mhac an duine. So agad, ma ta, an 
seol air am bheil muinntir Feill-na-Cloimh' a' reiceadh agus a' cean- 
nachadh mholt agus chaorach, uan agus olainn, agus ghoireasan gun 
aireamh eile agus sin uile a' dol air aghaidh gun a bhi 'faicinn 
aoin de na beathaichibh, no aoin smad de na stuthannaibh eugsamhla 
sin a bha iad a' ceannachadh agus a' reiceadh ! Ubh ! Ubh ! b'i 'n 
fheill neonach i gun teagamh ! Cha'n 'eil duil agam gu'm facas a 
leithid ann an cearnaidh sam bith eile." 

M. " Ach cia mar a reic thu na muilt, a Choinnich, air bhi 
dhuit co aineolach air cleachdannaibh iongantach mhuinntir na 

C. " Ma ta, innsidh mi sin dhuit, a' Mhurachaidh ; thachair 
mi air meadhon na sraide air duin'-uasal coir a's aithne dhuit fein, 
Fear Bhealach-nan-cabar, agus bha mi am breislich ciod a dhean- 
ainn, no co ris a labhrainn mu na muilt aig mo mhaighstir, Sir 
Seumas, an uair a labhair an duin' uasal so riurn, agus a' cur a laimh 
air mo ghuallainn, thubhairt e, ' Nach tusa Coinneach Ciobair, Sir 
Seumas, agus nach d'thainig thu a' reiceadh nam molt aig do 
Mhaighstir air an fheill so ? An deachaidh agad, ma ta, air sin a 
dheanamh 1 ' ' Ochan ! le'r cead, le'r cead, a' dhuin uasail ionmh- 
uinn, cha reic mise gu brath iad 'san aite thubaisdeach so, oir cha'n 
aithne tlhomh anam air an fheill, agus cha'n 'eil fios agam co ris a 
dh' fhosgailinn nio bheul.' Ghrad-thionndaidh Fear-'Bhealaich air 
a shail, sineicl e air duin'-uasal a thainig a nail 'na choinneamh, agua 
dh' innis e dha aireamh, gne, nadar, aois, agus feobhas nam molt, 
agus cheannaich e air ball iad." 

Annual Assembly. 11 

M. " Tha do shaorsa agad a nis, a Choinnich, chum gach ni 
fhaicinn, agus chum curam a ghabhail de gach cuis a ghabhas Co- 
munn Gailig Inbhirnis os laimh an nochd, agus thoir an aire, oir 
cha bheag agus cha suarach na nithe a chi agus a chluinneas thu 
air an f heasgar so, agus tha deagh-f hios agam gu'n tog iad do chridhe, 
agus gu'n dean iad deich bliadhna ni's oige thu, a charaid." 

C. " Gu dearbh, a Mhurachaidh, cha robh mi riamh ni'a 
toilichte na tha mi an so an nochd ! Is solas do-labhairt do m' 
chridhe a' chuideachd aluinn so fhaicinn, agus an t-urram mor 'fhao- 
tainn a bhi re na h-uine so maille riu. Ach ciod iad na nithe son- 
raichte a tha iad a' gabhail os laimh ! " 

M. " Chuir thu ceist orm, a Choinnich, dean foighidinn agua 
chi thu, oir gheibh foighidinn furtachd. Chuir thu ceist orm a 
ghabhadh uine fhada chum a freagairt. Ach chum gu'n tuig thu e 
Tha'n Chomunn eireachdail so a' gabhail os laimh gach cuis agus 
cleachd, gach riaghailt agus reachd, a bhuineadh riamh do na Gaidh- 
eil. Tha iad a' rannsachadh a mach gach saothair, obair, ceol, 
bardachd, ceileir, piobaireachd, aithris, sean-f hocal, ur-sgeul, glic- 
bhriathar, eideadh, armachd, breacan, suaicheantas, gairm-cath, in- 
neal-cogaidh, teuchd, treubhantas, dillseachd, tairisneachd, teug- 
mhail, agus mar sin sios, air son an robh na Gaidheil, o na ceud linn- 
tibh, comharraichte. Tha'n Chomunn a' fiosrachadh gach ni mu na 
Cinn-fheadhna, na Fineachan, agus na tuasaidean fuilteach a bha 
eatorra mu na Cinn-chinnidh, an aireamh, an cumhachd an oigh- 
reachdan, an sloigh, agus an dianiarrtais air buaidh a thoirt air aon 
a' cheile le f aobhar geur a' chlaidheimh. Tha'n Chomunn so, mar an 
ceudna, a' miannachadh, leis gach innleachd na'n comus, air an 
f hirinn fhaotuinn a mach, mu gach cuis a bhuineas do na Gaidheil 
mar chinneach gach eolas na'n comus a rannsachadh a mach mu 
choirichean aosda, mu sheann leabhraichean, mu sgriobhannan a 
rinneadh o chein, agus mu gach ni eile leis an do chomharraicheadh 
na Gaidheil a mach mar chinneach, a bha eadar-dhealaichte o chin- 
nich eile, le'n cleachdannaibh agus le'n canain. Chum na criche so, 
f eumaidh an Chomunn a bhi foighidinneach, eudmhor, durachdach, a' 
sgrudadh gach ait' agus ionaid a' siubhal a null agus a nail a thall 
agus a bhos agus gun sgath, gun sgios, a bhi' geursgrudadh gach 
feart, heart, agus firinn gu'm bunait, agus leo so, a bhi 'carnadh suaa 
an eolais a gheibh iad, chum gu'm hi e air a theasairginn o thir na 
dichuimhne. Cha bheag an' obair so, a ghraidh narn fear, agua 
cha bheag an dichioll agus an gliocas an innleachd agus an t-seol- 
tachd, a dh' fheumar a chleachdadh chum an obair a thoirt gu crich." 

C. " Ubh ! Ubh ! a Mhurachaidh, tha thu a' cur iongantaia 

12 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

M. " Mise a' cur iongantais ort, a charaid ! Cuir thusa an 
t-srathair air an each cheart, agus abair gur e Cbomunn Gailig Inbhir- 
nis a tha cur iongantais ort, agus nach mise. Cba d' ainmich mise 
darna leth nan cuspair a th' aig a' Chomunn so 'san amharc. Tha 
eachdraidh agus tilidheachd na Feinne, seann sgeulacbdan, taibh- 
searacbd, druidheachd, geasachd, leannana-sithe, agus na miltean 
nithe leithidean sin gu bhi air am min-fhiosrachadh mar a chleach- 
dadh iad 's na h-amannaibh a dh' f halbh. Tha gun teagamh, a Choin- 
nich, agus mar an ceudna, cleachdanna nan teaghlaichean na'm far- 
daichibh fein o shean. Leigeadh so a ris air mhodh taitneach leis 
an duine mhacanta, uasal, agus f hoghluimte sin Mac 'Ille Mhicheil, 
ann an Creag-Ghoraidh, 'na oraid ghrinn do na h-Uidhistich : 
' Air oidhch' fhada gheamhraidh, 

Theid a tionndadh gu gniomh ; 
A' toirt eolais do'n chloinn, 

Bithidh gach seann duine liath ; 
An nighean a' cardadh, 

A' mhathair a' sniamh, 
An t-iasgair le' shnathaid, 

A' caradh nan lion.' " 

C. " Eo mhaith, ro mhaith, a Mhurachaidh, mo mhile bean- 
nachd air Mac 'Ille Mhicheil, is maith a mhinich e gnathas an teagh- 
laich sin. Tha duil agam gu'm bheil mi faicinn an duine aosda, 
choir, a' teagasg na cloinne ann an oisinn de'n t-seomar agus anna 
a' chuil ud thall, tha'n nighean, le 'fallus ga dalladh, a' sgriobadh 
nan card, 's a' deanamh nan rolag. Chithear an t-seana-bhean air 
an taobh eile, a' srannail air a' chuibhil-sniamhaidh, a' deanamh an 
t-snath, agus balach an eisg ah* an culaobh, le cuaill lion-sgadain, a' 
caradh nan toll." 

M. " Tha sin uile gle bhoidheach agus gle nadurra air a thoirt 
fa chomhair suil na h-inntinn, a Choinnich, ach cha b' urrainn duil 
a bhi ri chaochladh o laimh chumhachdaich Chreag-Ghoraidh, a 
chuireas an comhnuidh rogha caoin air gach sgeul agus comhradh. 
Ach mu'n Chomunn so, a Choinnich, cha'n 'eil ni 'sam bith aca 
anns an amharc, a tha a reir mo bharail-sa, co cudthromach air gach 
seol, ri eolas a chumail, agus a mheudachadh air cainnt urramaich 
agus mhaisich nan Gaidheal. Is i a' Ghailig a' chanain a's sine, 
a's boidhiche, agus a's druidiche a tha ga labhairt, feudaidh e bhith, 
air uachdair an t-saoghail ! Tha i 'na priomh-f hreumh do gach canain 
eile, agus tha i gu h-iomlan oirdheirc. Mar a thubhairt am bard : 
' Ma tha canain air thalamh, 
Bhios 'ga labhairt am flaitheas, 
Tha moran 'sa bharail 
Gur i a' Ghailig an te sin.' " 

Annual Assembly. 13 

C'. " Ochan a' righ ! is mi tha sona an nochd ! Mo chreach ! 
nach robh Seonaid an so, is i a bhiodh aighearach ! Ach, a' Mhura- 
chaidh, ma's beo Seonaid agus mise gu bliadhn' eile, thig sinn dh'ionn- 
suidb na h-ath choinneamh ged a chosdadh e an gearran donn 
domh ! Gu robh buaidh leis a' Chomunn ionmhuinn air tad, agus 
gu robh gach buaidh leis a' Cheannfeadhna urramach, a tha 'lionadh 
na caithreach ud co freagarrach an nochd. Eachadh an Chomunn 
air an aghaidh mar a rinn iad o'n thoisich iad agus le beannachd, 
fasaidh iad laidir, bliadhn' an cleigh bliadhna. Fasaidh gun tea- 
ganih ; agus faic so, a' Mhurachaidh choir, cha'n f hag sinn am baile, 
gus am bi thu fein agus mi fein air ar deanamh 'nar buill de Cho- 
munn Gailig Inbhirnis. Ochan ! cha'n fhag, agus am measg ion- 
gantais an t-saoghail, co aig am bheil brath, nach fheud mi a bhi 
beo, gus am faic mi mo charaid Murachadh Ban 'na shuidhe gu 
h-ard 'sa chaithir ud na cheann-feadhna air Chomunn Gailig 

M. " Sguir dhe d' ghoileam agus dhe d' bhaothaireachd, Fhir 
a' Ghoirtein Fraoich, air neo cha bhi sinn reidh ; ach a thaobh na 
thubhairt thu mu thimchioll sinne a bhi 'nar buill dhe'n Chomunn 
so, bithidh mi anabarach toilichte air sin, oir is taitneach an ni do 
dhuine a bhi ann an deagh chuideachd, oir le sin tha araon an inn- 
tinn agus a' choluinn eadhon an duine gu h-iomlan, a' faotuinn ath- 
urachaidh agus neirt. Feumaidh an inntinn faochadh agus f ois co 
maith ris a' chorp, agus riaraichear iad maraon anns a' chuideachd 

C. " Cha'n 'eil duil agam gu'm bheil Chomunn Gaidhealach eile 
'san rioghachd air fad co tuigseach, caidreach, agus cairdeil ris a' 
Chomunn so ach ciod ido bharail-sa mu so, a' Mhurachaidh T' 

M. " Tha na Communna Gaidhealach lionmhor anns an Eilean 
Bhreatunnach, a' Choinnich, ach a reir mo bheachd-sa, bheir an 
Chomunn so barr orra uile. Einn Chomunn Gailig Inbhirnis rud no 
dha a chosnas cliu dhoibh re linntean ri teachd." 

C " Ochan, a' Mhurachaidh, gu robh mile beannachd air a' 
Chomunn so, agus gu robh gach ni ag eirigh leo gu brath." 

M . " Is gleusda a, labhair thu, a Choinnich, ach ceadaich dhomh 
foighneachd dhiot An do chuir thu fathast eolas air neach sonraichte 
sam bith dhe'n Chomunn, no an robh thu a comhradh ri aon idir 
aca 1" 

C. " Feudaidh mi a radh nach robh, a Mhurachaidh, ach is e 
mo shaidealtachd fein bu choireach. Chunnaic mi triuir dhiubh 
cuideachd air an t-sraid, agus ma chunnaic, b' iad na suinn aluinn 
iad ! Thilg mi mo shuilean air fior-charaid nan Gaidheal, an t-Ard- 
Albannach ionmhuinn, agus Ochan ! b'e 'n gille e ! Bha e co sgiob- 

14 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

alta, baganta, cuimear, le' bhreacan-an-fheile, 's le 'bhonait ghuirm, 
leathainn mar ghroideil. Chunnaic mi, mar an ceudna, an Ceilteach 
agus da-rireadh, cha b'e 'm monar e duine suairce soiraeach 
somalta ceatharnach treun dileas, cairdeil 'na ghiulan agus 
duine, a reira' choslais, aig am bheil f eartan inntinn, agus buaidhean 
coluinn, foghainteach annta fein, chum na ruintean sin, as miann leis 
eiridinn, a thoirt gu crich. Mo thruaigh an ti air an deanadh e greim, 
agus fearg air oir gu dearbh cha b f hurast a' dhruim a chur ri 
lar ! Ach co a chunnaic mi, mar an ceudna, ach ar caraid an Seann 
Sgiathanach bochd, agus ma chunnaic, b'e sin an creutair iosal, 
cutach duinneachan ro bheag, a tha co leathann 'sa tha e co fad. 
Tha e tuigh, cruinn, gramail, mai 1 bharailte-sgadain, agus gun a bhi 
a' bheag n'is airde ! Tha a cheann leth-mhaol le neoni fuilt thana, 
Jiath-ruadh, a' casadh suas. Cha mhor nach duiriginn dorn dha air 
son cho minic 'sa chuir e thusa agus mise ann an sgornanaibh a cheile 
agus an deigh sin, bha gne speis agara dha dh'aindeoin cuise. Tha 
duil aige, feudaidh e bhith, gum bheil mabalaich Gailig aige, ach 
cuimhnicheadh e, gur e an duil a mhill a' bhantighearna agus ma 
their e a' bheag 'ga ardachadh fein, thugadh e fainear gur lionmhor 
greim a thug e do'n bheul a tha 'ga mholadh." 

M. " ! a Choinnich, is iongantach an duine thu, agus mo 
lamhsa ! gu'rn bheil deagh fhios aig Seonaid choir nach fhurast air 
uairibh do chumail air do sheol ; ach ge b'oil le d' fhiaclan e, cuniaidh 
mise air do chriochaibh fein thu. Ach, am bheil thu riaraichte leis 
a' Chomunn a nis, agus am bheil thu deonach air dol mu thamh car 

C. " Cha'n 'eil, a' Mhurachaidh, oir dh'fhanainn seachduin air 
a ceann maille ris a' Chomunn cheanalta so, agus cha 'n f hag mi 
an talladh an nochd, gus am faic mi am ball mu dheireadh dhe'n 
chuideachd a niach air an dorus-mhor. Tha moran eile, a bhuineas 
do'n Chomunn so, bu ro mhaith learn f haicinn, mar a tha an t-Olamh 
Blackie le 'cheann liath le 'chosaibh caol, 's le chnaimh-droma 
cho subailt ris on easguinn ! Bhiodh e taitneach, mar an ceudna, 
sealladh fhaotuinn dhe Tighearna Chluainidh Tearlach Friseal- 
Mac-an-Toisich Sir Coinneach Ghearrloch agus dhe gach Ceann- 
feadhnadh a bha thairis air a' Chomunn so, o'n dhealbhadh iad an 
toiseach. Tha mi 'faicinn seann Chailein Siosal a lathair, agus c'ait 
am bheil diulnach a bheir barr air fhathast, air son durachd, eud, 
agus tairisneachd, a thaobh gach ni a bhuineas do na Gaidheil ! Gu 
ma fada beo an treunlaoch blathchridheach, cinneadail ! Ann an 
aon fhocal, is maith agus is taitneach a' chuideachd gu leir a tha 
lathair an so an nochd agus f had s' is beo Murachadh Ban agus 
Coinneach Ciobair, cha di-chuimhnich iad gu brath an fhior-thoil- 

Annual Assembly. 15 

inntinn a thugadh dhoibh leis a' Chuideachd so agus cha diobair 
iad, uile laiihean am beatha, gun a bhi 'cur cliu Chomunn Gailig In- 
bhirnis ann am farsuingeachd air feadh na tire, fhad's 'sa bhios 
comus aca an teangannan a ghluasad. Ochan ! slan leibh, Fhir-suidh 
urramaich, a 1 Bhantighearnan, agus a' Chuideachd aluiunn gu leir, 
agus gu robh gach buaidh agus beannachd maille ruibh a nis, agus 
gu brath. 

' Mile beannaclid, mile buaidh 

Air Comunn Uaislean mo ruin ; 

Cha snisnich Breatunn le fiamh 

'S sibhse mar dhion air a cul. 

Thog Albainn a ceann le h-uaill ; 

Dh' f huasgladh a' (Jhailig a snuim ; 

Tha coir aig gach saorsainn gu feum, 

Aig Sliochd Ghaidheal nam beus grinn ! ' " 

At the conclusion of his address, Mr. Macgregor suggested that 
Captain Chisholm should favour the meeting with a tune on the 
bagpipes, a proposal which completely electrified the audience, Cap- 
tain Chisholm's accomplishments as a bagpipe-player being evidently 
well known to the most of those present. The Captain complied, 
and played a reel, to which four gentlemen in Highland costume 
danced. The performance was greatly appreciated, and was received 
with loud applause. Those who took part in the dance gave other 
reels the Highland Fling, the Reel o' Tulloch, &c. in course of 
the evening, and were, on every appearance, heartily encored. The 
dancers were Pipe-Major Ferguson, Inverness Rifle Volunteers ; 
Mr. James Reid, High Street ; Mr. Robert Ma^hardy, Church 
Street ; and Mr. Hugh Mackenzie, Castle Street. 

The programme of music was an attractive one. A party of a 
dozen young ladies, under the leadership of Mr. John Whyte, sang 
Gaelic songs and choruses in a most pleasing manner, and were on 
each appearance received with cordial applause. There were Gaelic 
solos by Mr. Donald Graham, Glasgow, whose style is clear and 
effective ; and English and Gaelic songs by Mr. J A. Robertson, 
who sang " Scots wha hae," " The Macgregor's Gathering," and a 
new Gaelic song " Theid i 's gu'n teid i learn," with much expression 
and taste. Mr. Robertson and Miss Young sang a Gaelic duet, 
" Ho r<5, mo Nighean Donn Bhoidheach," in a manner that secured 
for them a hearty encore. A most delightful feature in the musi- 
cal programme was the appearance of Miss Libbie Watt, who sang 
in a charming manner " Cam' ye by Athole," and " Whistle and 
I'll come to you, my lad," and was on both occasions encored. 

16 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Mr. Mackay, of Ben-Reay, followed the Chairman's example, 
at the request of the Chair, and afforded the audience a treat, 
which they greatly appreciated, by singing " The Piper o' Dun- 
dee." The piano and harmonium accompaniments to all the 
singers were given by Miss Georgina Mackintosh, Douglas Row, 
in a manner which elicited general praise. During the assem- 
bling of the meeting, and at intervals throughout the evening, 
several selections on the bagpipes were played by Pipe-Majors Mac- 
lennan and Ferguson, Sergeant Urquhart, and Piper Peter Maclean. 
The party of singers consisted of Miss Young, Huntly Street ; 
Miss Alexandrina Macdonald, Armadale Cottage, Greig Street ; 
Miss Jessie Macdonald, Gilbert Street ; Miss Maggie Mackintosh, 
Douglas Kow ; Miss Maclaren, Drummond ; Miss Noble, Lombard 
Street ; and Miss Mary Macrae, Hill Street. 

At the close, Mr. D. Sharp, President of the Glasgow Highland 
Association, expressed pleasure that his first visit to Inverness 
should be associated with this grand Highland gathering. He now 
had six years experience of Highland gatherings, having presided 
at many since the origin of the Glasgow Highland Association, and 
he could assure them that he had never seen one that pleased him 
more than the one which he had witnessed that evening. He asked 
a hearty vote of thanks to all who had contributed to the evening's 
entertainment the singers, the dancers, the speakers, the pipers, and 
the young lady who presided at the piano. (Applause.) 

Provost Simpson moved a cordial vote of thanks to Captain 
Chisholin for his conduct in the chair. Captain Chisholm, like a 
true Highlander, came ever to the front, and so to-night in the 
much-regretted and unavoidable absence of then 1 esteemed Chief, he 
had come to take his old place in the assemblies of the Gaelic 
Society. He had come to the chair unwillingly certainly, but with 
the very greatest satisfaction to all who had the pleasure to sit 
under him. He would not say more in Captain Chisholm's pre- 
sence, but he would ask for him a very hearty and true Highland 
cheer. (Loud cheers.) 

The Chairman briefly acknowledged the compliment, and, on 
the suggestion of the Provost, and amid great applause, he played 
on the pipes " Johnnie Cope" as a parting tune. 

The arrangements for the meeting were under the charge of the 
Secretary. " Not a solitary hitch," says The Highlander, "occurred 
during the evening to mar the proceedings," and altogether every- 
thing went off in a most enjoyable manner. 

Subjoined is a copy of the programme : 

Annual Assembly. 17 


Gaelic Song" Ho 'n Clo Dubh" Party. 

Address The Chief. 

Scotch Song " Macgregor's Gathering"- Mr. J. A. Robertson. 
Dance " Highland Fling" Oganaich Ghaidhealach. 
Gaelic Song " Och6in a Eigh gur a mi tha muladach" Mr. 

Donald Graham, Glasgow. 

Scotch Song " Cam' ye by Athole" Miss Libbie Watt. 
New Gaelic Song " An Gaidheal 'sa Leannan" Mr. J. A. 

Gaelic Song " Oran do Chaiptean Siosal " le Mairi Nic-Ealair 


Interval of Ten Minutes Bagpipe Music. 


Gaelic Song " H6-ro Eileanaich ho gii" Party. 

Gaelic Address Eev. Alex. Macgregor, Inverness. 
Scotch Song "Whistle and I'll come to you, my Lad" Miss 

Libbie Watt. 
Gaelic Solo and Duet " Ho r6 mo Nighean Donn Bhoidheach" 

Miss Young and Mr. Robertson. 
Dance " Eeel of Tulloch" Oganaich Ghaidhealach. 
Gaelic Song " Mairi Bhan Dhail-an-Eas" Mr. Donald Graham. 
Scotch Song " Scots wha hae" Mr. J. A. Eobertson. 
Concluding Song " theid sinn, theid sinn le sugart agus aoidh" 



At the meeting on this date, it was resolved to join the Feder- 
ation of Highland Societies. Mr. Alex. Mackenzie and Mr. William 
Mackay (whom failing Mr. John Murdoch) were appointed to re- 
present the Society at the Federation Meeting in Glasgow, on 20th 
November, 1878. 

13iH NOVEMBER, 1878. 

At this meeting, some discussion took place on the Federation 
question, with the view of communicating to the delegates the 
opinion of the Society thereanent. 

The prevailing opinion was that the objects of the Federation 
should be literary aiul educational, and that politics should be 


18 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

always avoided ; and the delegates were instructed to see that the 
objects of the Federation should be in no material way out of har- 
mony with the constitution of this Society. 

Captain 1ST. Scobie, Fearn, was elected a life member ; whilst 
' the following were elected ordinary members : Miss Cameron, of 
Innseagan, Fort- William ; Captain Cash, adjutant, E. E. V., Ding- 
wall ; James Cluues, Nairn ; Duncan Sharp, Keppoch Hill, Glas- 
gow ; R A. Macdonald, Ullinish, Skye ; A. D. Campbell, Kirkin- 
tilloch ; Paul Campbell, shoemaker, Bridge Street, Inverness : Geo. 
Fraser, clerk, Caledonian Bank do. ; Murdo Maclennan, carpenter, 
Shore Street do. ; Robert Fergusson, teacher, Raploch, Stirling ; 
Alex. Mackenzie, architect, Glasgow ; Charles A. Walker, Ord, Eoss- 
shire ; Sergeant D. Macpherson, Chapel Street, Inverness ; D. 
Crawford, Otterferry, Tighnabruaich ; Angus Mackenzie, Waverley 
Hotel, Inverness ; Alex. Mackay, labourer, Eaigmore ; Eoderick 
Macdiarmid, teacher, Portnahaven, Islay ; P. A. C. Mackenzie, 
52 Marquis Eoad, Camden Square, London ; and Eoderick Mac- 
lennau, 14 Douglas Street, Glasgow. 

20TH NOVEMBER, 1878. 

Dr. David Tulloch, Helmsdale, and D. Cameron, velocipede 
maker, Dempster Gardens, Inverness, were elected ordinary mem- 
bers at the meeting on this date. 

Some routine business having been transacted, the Secretary, 
Mr. William Mackenzie, read a paper entitled 


He said At the request of several members of the Society, I 
am to give you to-night a further selection from my Celtic Portfolio. 
Two series of these papers have already appeared in our Transac- 
tions. With these, I have no doubt, all members interested in 
such matters are already familiar, and it is therefore unnecessary for 
me to precede the present selection with any introduction further 
than to say that it is exactly of the same character as the former 

In the first series, I gave a fragment of a Duanag (page 57), in 
connection with togail nan creach. As I mentioned there, I heard 

* For the first and second series of these " Leaves," vide Volume VII., 
pages 52 and 100. 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 19 

its authorship attributed in the west of Boss-shire to Alasdair 
Sgolair, and in Inverness-shire to Domlmull Donn Mac Fhir Bhotli- 
fhionntainn. Since the publication of our last Volume, my valued 
poetical correspondent, Mr. F. D. Macdonell, late of Plockton, 
writes me from New Zealand, saying that the author is neither of 
these worthies, /but " Coinneach Dubh Mac Dhon'-'ic-Coinnich." 
He at the same time sends me what appears to be a complete copy 
of the song, which I give along with his prefatory note : 

The authorship of the following duanag is attributed by some 
to Domlmull Donn, a contemporary of Iain Lorn ; but the legitimate 
author was Coinneach Dubh. His sister was grandmother to the 
famous Ruaraidh 'n lomaire, a gentleman and a scholar, eloquent 
and ready-witted, and well-versed in the history and genealogy of 
the Highland Clans, who died at Achamore. Lochalsh, about fifty 
years ago. The song was composed to gall a certain band of 
Lochaber arnaich, or cattle-lifters, who on more than one 
occasion ravaged the folds of some of the author's friends. It may 
be mentioned here that cattle-lifting in those days was by no means 
reckoned dishonourable, although sheep-stealing was held infamous, 
and visited with the utmost severity. 

Chorus. Faodaidh 'fear bhios fuar, falanih, 
Cruaidh, smearail, foinnidh, fearail, 
Fead a thoirt an cluais balaich, 
Mur a bi e reidh ris. 

Thoir fios gu taobh thall nan Garbh chrioch, 
'n 's ni e 'chordas ri 'm mheanmuinn, 
Gu'n thoisich taobh tuath na h- Albainn 
Air marbhadh a ch&le. 
Faodaidh 'fear, &c. 

Fios gu Eoghann, fios gu Ailean, 
'S fios gu Domlmull Ban an CailKch, 
Ciod an truaighe 'chum aig bail' iad, 
'Sa' ghealach air iridh ? 
Faodaidh 'fear, &c. 

Clann-a'-Phi agus Clann-Uaraig, 
Ciod e 'n aon ni a chum uainn iad ? 
'S mi fhein 's Cloinn Liodar nan cuaran 
'An guaillibh a che"ile. 
Faodaidh 'fear, &c. 

20 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Tha Maolanaich arm an Arcaig, 
'S bu mhath gu slaodadh nan creach iad, 
'S fhad 's a mhaireas ni aig Cataich, 
Cha bhi ac' ach leum air. 
Faodaidh 'fear, &c. 

'Sann mu dha thaobh Baile-Domha 
Tha na fir nach faoin ri clomhadh, 
'S bheir iad aomadh air na Rothaich, 
Fhad 's a gheibhear spreidh aca. 
Faodaidh 'fear, &c. 

Xa 'n gabhadh na cruachan ioman 
Mar ghabhadh crodh Cille-Chuimein, 
Bheireadh sinn air bodaich Mhoraidh, 
Gu'm biodh dolaidh beidh orra. 
Faodaidh 'fear, &c. 

Gu 'n mharbhadh bean uasal thapaidh 
Ann an tuasaid o chionn seachduin, 
'ri faodaidh sibhse crodh 'us capuill, 
Thoirt dhachaidh 'n a h-e'irig. 
Faodaidh 'fear, &c. 

Tha crodh a's eich air an leathad 
Aig bodaich nach dean an gleidheadh, 
'S mur b 'e dhomhsa bhi mo laidhe, 
Dheanainn rathad reidh dhoibh. 
Faodaidh 'fear, &c. 

I will now present you with two songs of a very different type. 
They are the composition of John Campbell, Ledaig, Oban the 
hero of Professor Blackie's pretty verses, entitled " The House of 
the Bard." The first pictures to us the Highlander in a distant 
land, while in the second we have a graphic account of the thoughts 
that stir his breast as he returns homewards. 


Is trie mi cuiinhneach air tlr mo dhuthchais, 
Air tlr nam beanntan 's nan gleanntan iirar ; 
Air tlr nan sgairnichean arda, ruisgtc, 
Nan creagan corrach, 's nan lochan dughorm. 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 2.1 

Air sruthain chaisleach nan caran lubach, 
Ei mire 's gleadhraich feadh bhac is stuchdan ; 
No 'ruith gu samhach 'sa' ghleannan chiuin ud 
'S an doire challtuinn gu teann 'g an dunadh. 

An eidheann dhuallach mar sgail-bhrat uaine, 
'S a' Gheamhradh 's fuaire fo shnuadh a' fas, 

'S i 'dion le 'sgiathan nan ard-chreag liath ud, 
Mar gu 'm b'e h-iarrtas an cumail blath. 

An tonn ri cr6nan air cladach comhnard, 
Le morbban b6idheacb 'toirt cool gu reidh ; 

No 'g eiridh suas dhuinn le toirm an uambais, 
'S an cath na chuartaig 'g a sguab' do'n speur. 

Sud tlr a' chairdeis 's an d' fbuair mi m' arach, 
Far 'm bheil a' Ghailig is aillidh fonn, 

'S i thogadh m' inntinn 'n uair bhithinn tursach, 
'Sa dh' fhagadh sunndach mo chridhe trom. 

Is trie a thionndaidb mi air mo chulaobh, 
'N uair chluinnin dluth i air sraid nan Gall ; 

Mo cbridhe dh'^ireadh mar aiteal greine, 

'Thoirt siiil a' m' dheigh dh'fheucb co bbiodh ann. 

Is ged a shealladh na Gaill a sios oirnn 

'N uair bhitheamaid direacb o thlr nam beann ; 

Fo 'n chairt is suarraiche 's trie a fhuaireas, 
Am fiodh is luachmhoire am measg nan crann. 

'Si sud an duthaich a thog na fiurain, 

Bha gaisgeil, cliuiteach, bha iulmbor, treun, 

A slieasadh Ikidir a dhion gacb. cas leinn, 

'S gu brath nach d' fhailnich an la an fheum. 

Tha 'n gaisgeadh ainmeil is trie a dhearbht e, 
Air tlr 's air fairge, an cath 's an stri ; 

B' iad luchd an fh^ilidh gu brath nach geilleadh, 
Fhad 's ruitheadh deur do fhuil r^idh nan crldh'. 

22 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

'Si 'n fhlor fhuil uasal o thlr nam fuar bheann 
A bhiodh 's a' ghruagaich d' an tugainn speis ; 

T<$ bhruidhneadh blath rium 's a' chanain aluinn 
Bu ro mhath thathadh ar gradh r'a ch<}ir. 

'S a chaoidh cha chaochail an tlus tha 'm thaobhsa 
Do m' thlr 's do m' dhaoinibh a b' aobhach learn, 

'S cha leig air dlchuimhn' gach comhairl' phrlseil, 
Thug teachdair dlleas na firinn dhuinn. 

A's ged a ruiginn-sa cul nan Innsean, 

'S gach eilean rlomhach 's na tlrean thall : 

'S ann ann a' m' dhuthaieh a ghuidhean m' uir bhi 
J !N" uair bhiodh mo shuilean 'g an dunadh teann. 

'S nio chead 's an uair so do thlr nam buadh ud, 
'S mo bheannachd buan leis an t-sluagh tha ann, 

'S an cliu a f huair sinn o linn ar sinnsir, 
Gu ceann ar crlche nach dealaich ruinn. 


's iomadh bliadhna 'tha nis air iadhadh 
Mo cheann air liathadh, 's mo chiabhag ban 

Bho'n laidh mo shuil-s' ort a thir mo dhuthchais, 
Is sealladh cuil ghabh bho chul mo shail I 

Na creagan arda 's gach cnocan aluin, 
Tha mar a dh'fhag mi iad air am bonn, 

Ach luchd mo ghraidh-sa a chuireadh failt' orm, 
Cha'n 'eil an aireamh a nis ach gann. 

'N am fardaich fhialaidh, bha tlus is biadh ann 
Do 'n choigreach chianail le thuras sgith ; 

'Se feidh a's caoirich tha 'n diugh r'a fhaotuinn, 
Is luchd mo ghaoil-sa tha fad o 'n tir. 

Is gur fasail an diugh gach larach, 

'S an robh mo chairdean-sa uile cruinn 

A chuid chaidh fhagail le maoir 's le baiiuin, 
Gu'n d'thug am bas iad gu aite taimh. 

Leaves from my Celiic Portfolio. 23 

Is iomadh kite 's an robh mo thamh-sa, 
Is iomadh duthaich 's an robh. mo chuairt, 

Ach mar a thearnadh a' ghrian 's an iarmailt, 
Mo chridh' bha 'g iarraidh gu tir mo shluaigh. 

Ciod am feum a tha nis dha m' storas, 

ciod an solas a gheibh mi ann, 
'S an dream le 'n d' shaoil mi a chaitheadh comhl' riu, 

Ochdin mo Ie6nadh tha iad air chall ! 

cha'n 'eil dachaidh 'n taobh bhos do 'n bhas dhuinn 
's briste an cairdeas tha 'n taobhsa 'n uaigh I 

Far an saoil sinn bheil sonas lamh ruinn, 
'Se sin an t-aite 'san fhaid' e bhuainn. 

Ach Thusa chuidich 'sa chum a suas mi, 

'Thug as gach cruaidh-chas mi 'n robh mi 'n sas 

Lub fein mo chridhe gu d' ghradhsa iarraidh, 
'S tu 'n caraid sioraidh inch treig gu brath. 

I will follow these up with an old Gaelic Love Song. The 
metre employed, it will be seen, is not one that is used by modern 
versifiers. I do not know who composed it ; but, perhaps, some 
member of the Society may throw light on the matter. 

'S trom learn m' imeachd gach lo, 
'S nach imich mi rod d'am beil m' aoidh, 
'S nach imich mi rod d' am beil m' aoidh, 

Ni 'n gluais mo chridhe mo choin, 
Cha togair learn fonn ach caoidh. 

Fonn cha tog dh' iom mo sprochd, 
Fo gach aon ni ach osna 's deur, 
Fo gach aon ni ach osua 's deur, 

Ged a tharladh mi 'n diugh fo ghruaim, 
Ghabhainn uair le fearas-theud. 

Ri teud cha'n oisdear ri m' linn, 
Cba bhinn learn aigbear ach bron, 
Cha bhinn ]eam aighear ach bron, 

Ni 'm beil mo leigheas an dan, 
Mur faighear leam trath do ph6g. 

24 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Do phog mo leigheas a ta, 
Na 'm faighinn dhiubh dha no tri, 
!Na 'm faighinn dhiubh dha no tri, 

Od' dheala-bhriot o 'm beurtha buaidh 
Cion gu la-luain thug mi. 

'S mi gu'm beil ort an deidh, 
'Nighean nan reidh rosg mall, 
'.Nighean nan reidh rosg mall, 

'S gur e dh' fhag m' aigneadh an eis 
Miad mo dheidh air do chorp seang. 

Do chorp seang, mo gradh an t-aoidh, 
An te nach labhair maoin a lochd, 
An te nach labhair maoin a lochd, 

'Bha tuigseach, foighideach, h'al, 
Cha'n aithnicht' ardan fiarais ort. 

Ort mar dhreach lilidh do ghruaidh, 
'S maiseach do shmiadh, 's geal do dheud, 
'S maiseach do shnuadh, 's geal do dheud, 

Do shlios mar eala nan spog. 
Beul mcachair nach toisich breug. 

Breug cha ghluais an te tha ceart, 
'S tu mo chraobh fo dhealt 's a' Mhaigh, 
'S tu mo chraobh fo dhealt 's a' Mhaigh, 

Gur tu m' aighear 's mo chruit-chiuil, 
'S mo gheug abhail ur fo bhla. 

Do bhla mar chanach an fheoir, 
'S tu 'n eala ri ceol a ghnath, 
'S tu 'n eala ri ceol a ghnath, 

Do shlios mar fhaoileig nan tonn, 
bhonn gu 'mhullach a ta. 

Tha thu gun chron cumaidh, 
d' mhullach gu barr do bhroig, 

Ailteachd bhan uile, 
d' mhuineal gu barr do mheoir, 

Cul fainneach buidhe, 
'S do rughadh air dhreach an oir, 

Agus deud dhluth, chailceach, 
Mar ghrein a lasadh 's na neoil. 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 

Do neul, 's do chumadh, 
Thug urram air each gu lorn, 

Gruaidh chiatach, ruiteach, 
Gun eucoir druidte ri d' chom, 

Beul beusach, tuigseach, 
Mar theudan druidte ri fonn, 

Mo ghleus air tuiteam, 
'S nach fheud mi uchdach ach troih. 

The next verses I will present to you are on the choice of a 
companion " Mo roghainn companaich." I neither know their 
author nor their date ; but their merit entitles them to a corner 
here : 

Is e so companach an aigh, 

An companach a b' aill learn fein ; 
Am fear a bheireadh dhomh gu saor, 

'S g'an taomaiun mach mo chridhe fein.' 

Do'n innsinnse gun sgath gun fhiamh, 
Gach iomaguin dhian a bhiodh g'am leir, 

A bheireadh comhairl' orm le gradh, 
'S ri each nach labhradh ni mu dhdigh. 

Is mor an sonas air gach taobh, 

R'a fhaotuin tha 'nar comunn graidh, 

Cha tugain e air g!6ir an t-sao'il, 
'S r'a thaobh tha 6r 'na ni gun sta ! 

Ach o cum bhuam an teanga fhiar, 
Mar lion a dhiadhas air gach taobh ; 

S a'n la mo thinn a sgaoil a sgiath, 

'Sa dh' fhag mi sniomhta ris gach gaoth. 

The following song of exile, with its accompanying narrative, I 
compile from several sources. The song, according to tradition, is 
the composition of Fearchar Mac Iain Gig Mhic-Rath Farquhai 
MacRae, a well known Kintail man. 

The circumstances under which the soug was composed may be 
briefly told. Donald MacRae, who was ground-officer or bailiff to 
Mackenzie of Kintail, about the year 1590, was very severe in ex- 
acting the taxes imposed by his master, who, it is said, demanded 
a tribute of butter and cheese in addition to the rent. He like- 

26 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

wise expected that the tenants would give him a share, or an equiva- 
lent, of the salmon taken in the river Cro ; but that additional cus- 
tom was strenuously opposed, so that Donald was ordered to lose 
no time in enforcing it. In executing his commission, he went to 
Achaghark, to the house of Farquhar MacEae, commonly called 
" Fearchar Mac Iain Oig," who happened at the time to be out 
hunting. Donald took advantage of the man's absence, and 
carried away a cow, and a copper kettle found in the house. On 
Farquhar's return, his wife told him of what had occurred, and 
added, that if he was a man, the bailiff would not encroach on 
his property. Being after partaking of some whisky, the wife's re- 
marks " raised his blood ; " and out he went with his loaded gun, 
nor did he halt until he got near the bailiff as he was fording the 
river Connag with the kettle on his back. He took aim, fired the 
old musg, and the bailiff dropped dead in the stream. With Far- 
quhar, it was naturally an exciting moment, and he instantly re- 
solved to leave his house and home. Before leaving, however, he 
hurried back to tell his wife Nighean Dhonnchaidh, to whom 
allusion is made in the song what happened. Addressing her he 
said " A bhean gun tiir, thug thu ormsa mo chall a dheanadh. 
Feumaidh mise teicheadh 'san aithre 'thoir orm fhin. Thoir thusa 
'n aithre ort fhein mar a's fhearr a dh' fhaodas tu." It was a sad 
situation for the wife, but matters could not bo helped. Farquhar 
then fled and did not halt until he reached " Cctolas nam bo," at 
the entrance to little Loch Hourn, where the strait intercepted his 
advance in that direction. A paternal uncle of his was living on 
the other side of the loch, at a place called Sgiathairidh, and from 
him he expected to get protection. He shouted for some person to 
go for him, and his uncle hearing him, addressing his own sons, 
said " Eiribh Fhearaibh ! Tha Fearchar mac mo bhrathair 
thallud ag iarraidh an aisidh 's guth fir calla 'na cheann." Farquhar 
was at once ferried, and in answer to his uncle's enquiries as to what 
was wrong, he replied that he had killed Domhnull Mac Dhonnch- 
aidh Mhic Fhionnlaidh Dhuibh nam Fiadh. " Pugh," said his 
uncle, " do not mind that, for unless you would kill him, I would 
kill him myself." Farquhar remained with his uncle for a few 
months, and then returned to Kintail, where he concealed himself 
for seven years in a cave in Coire gorm a' bheallaich, in Glenlic. 
He never went out without leaving a copper coin on a stone at the 
mouth of the cave, imagining that if any person went the way, the 
coin would be either carried away, or, if handled, left in another 

It appears that a belief prevailed in Scotland that a man guilty 


Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 27 

of homicide, and who evaded the officers of the law for seven years, 
could not afterwards be punished. I cannot trace any such law 
anywhere ; but old Seanachaidhs to the present day speak of such 
a law as a matter of fact. But without enquiring whether such a 
law ever existed, we know that in many cases the Crown was too 
weak to punish ; and that the payment of assythement went a long 
way to compound for a crime. By this payment the relatives of 
the dead person would be to some extent satisfied, and in these cir- 
cumstances a weak Crown could not do much to punish the guilty 
person. But it is curious that the time should be limited to seven 
years in the popular estimation ; and the presumption is that the 
matter had its origin in some legal observance. We know that there 
were many laws and customs rigorously observed by our ancestors 
which have never been sanctioned by Parliament. Was not every 
chief a judge among his people, and may not such an unwritten 
" law" have prevailed in that way 1 Whatever the origin, the 
popular opinion was that no man who was brave and clever enough 
to evade the law for the time stated, should be punished, as such a 
man was considered an acquisition rather than anything else in those 
warlike times. The question is interesting, and perhaps some of 
our members may throw more light on it. 

According to tradition, Farquhar lived for seven years among 
the hills of Kintail, and at the expiry of that period he con- 
sidered himself a free man, and unexpectedly appeared at a funeral 
in CUl Duthaich, to the great delight of his friends. He had to 
pay assythement (ransom, or t'drig) for the bailiff however ; but ac- 
cording to the popular belief, no further proceedings could be taken 
against him. Being taunted by a friend of the bailiff that he was a 
murderer, Farquhar replied Ma mharbh mis' e, nach d' ith sibh- 
fhein e 1 (If I killed him, have you not eaten him yourselves 1) 
This, of course, alluded to the ransom. Mackenzie would not how- 
ever forgive Farquhar, and sent a messenger to him saying that he 
must never again appear before " the high chief of Kintail ;" but 
when the chief made an expedition afterwards to the island of Lews, 
Farquhar did unknown accompany the army. When they arrived 
at Poolewe, Mackenzie complained that so few of his men went from 
Kintail. Whereupon, one of them retorted " How can we have 
men when you would not suffer the best man in Kintail to see 
you ? " Mackenzie asked who was he ; and being told it was Far- 
quhar, who was as good as twenty men, " I wish," said Mackenzie, 
" we had him." " If you engage," answered the other, " that you 
will give him every freedom he had before he killed the bailiff, I do 
not know but we might get him yet." That being promised, Far- 
quhar was introduced, and he and Mackenzie were reconciled. 

28 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

After this introduction, I will give you the song which Farquhai 
is said to have composed during his exile ; and which to my mind 
is well worthy of being here preserved : 

Cha'n e dlreadh na bruthaich, 

Dh'fhag ma shiubhal gun tre6ir. Cha'n, &c. 

No teas ri lath' gre'ine, 

'Nuair a dh'eireadh i 6irnn. No teas, &c. 

Laidh a' sneachd so air m' f heusaig, 

'Us cha le'ir dhomh mo bhr6g. Laidh, &c. 

'S gann is le'ir dhomh ni 's fhaisge, 

Ceann a bhata tha m' dhorn. 'S gann, &c. 

'S e mo thubhailte m' osan, 

'S e mo chopan mo bhr6g. 'S e mo, &c. 

'S e mo thigh mor na creagan, 

'S e mo dhaingeann gach fr6g. 'S e mo, &c. 

Ge do cheannainn am buideal, 

Cha'n fhaigh mi cuideachd 'ni 61. Ge, &c. 

'S ged a cheannainn a' seipein, 

Cha'n fhaigh mi creideas a stoip. 'S ged, &c. 

Ged a dh'fhadainn an teine, 

Chi fear foille dheth ce6. Ged, &c. 

'S i do nighean-sa, Dhonnchaidh, 

Chuir an iomagain so oirnn. 'S i do, &c. 

To* 'g am beil an cul dualach, 

'guallainn gu broig. T<^ 'g am, &c. 

To" 'g am beil an cul bachlach, 

'S a dhreach mar an t-6r. T 'g am, &c. 

Dheoin Dia cha bhi gillean, 

Eiut a' mire 's mi be6. Dheoin, &c. 

'S mor gum b'fhearr dhut mi agad, 

Na aon mhac breabadair be6. 'S mor, &c. 

Ged nach deanainn dut fidhe, 

Bhiodh iasg a's sithionn mu d' bh6rd. Ged, &c. 

'S truagh nach robh mi 's tu 'ghaolach, 
Anns an aonach 'm bi 'n ce6, 'S truagh, &c. 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 29 

Ann am biithaig bhig bharraich, 

'S gun bhi mar riuin ach d'fhe6il. Ann, &c. 

Agus paisdean beag leinibh, 

A cheileadh ar g!6ir. Agus, &c. 

'S mi gu snamhadh an caolas, 

Air son faoilteachd do bhe6il. 'S mi, fcc. 

'Nuair a thigeadh am foghar, 

B'e mo roghainn bhi falbh. 'Xuair, &c. 

Leis a' ghunna nach diultadh, 

'S leis an fhudar dhu'-ghorm. Leis, &c. 

'Nuair a gheibhinn cead frithe, 

'n righ 's o 'n iarl' 6g. 'Nuair, &c. 

Gum biodh fuil an daimh chabraich 
'Euith le altaibh mo dhorn. Gum, &c. 

Agus fuil a' bhuic bhioraich 

'Sior shileadh feadh fe6ir. Agus, &c. 

Ach 's i do nighean-sa, Dhonnchaidh, 
'Chuir an iomagain so 6irnn. Ach, &c. 

The following Rann was composed by a Macdonald, who lived 
in Doch-an-fhasaidh, and was addressed to Konald Macdonald, 
alias Raonul Ghlinn-Turraid. It is a specimen of those verses, or 
Itainn, common at one time, in which the versifier in expressing 
some wish, lauds one clan and pays few compliments to another. 
In the present case, the Mackintoshes and the Campbells come in 
for the versifier's displeasure. The verses would, no doubt, have 
provoked the wrath of some members of these clans at that time, 
and probably called forth^similar replies ; but happily Mackintoshes 
and Campbells will look on them to-day with a smile : 

Na'm bu leats' 'bhiodh an rioghachd 

Bhithinns' cinnteach a pairt dhi ; 
Bhiodh an Fhearsaid a's Innseadh, 

Agam sgriobhta air paipear 
Eadar Callart 's Bun Nibheis, 

A Mhaoil-chintreradh 's Cor-aluinn, 
An Eilean-Treig bhiodh mo dhachaidh 

'S thogainn caisteal 'san Laraig. 

30 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Thogaim caisteal 'san Fhearsaid 

A chumadh feachd ri am strithc, 
Cha bhiodh Toisich sa' Cheapaich 

Cha bhiodh Gait ann gu sgriobadh ; 
Cha bhiodh piseadh no Camabheul, 

Eadar Banbh agus lie, 
'S bhiodh Clann-Domhnuill, na gallain 

Anns gach baile gun chis on' ! 

I will now give a Beannacliadh Baird. The bard was formerly 
called upon to give a Beannachailh as often as the minister is now- 
a-days ; and numerous are the bard's blessings that are left to us in 
some form or other. The following blessing was addressed to a 
bride on the day after her marriage, as she came forth with her 
maidens from the bridal bed. According to custom she gave a dram 
to all the bridal party, and in return each member of the party pre- 
sented her with some article to be of future use, and the bard usu- 
ally administered his blessing. On the occasion of the marriage of 
the Rev. Donald MacLeod, minister of Duirinish, Skye (ob. 1760), 
there was no bard present to bless the bride. The worthy minister, 
conservative of the manners and customs of his race, was equal to 
the occasion however, for he readily assumed the position of bard 
himself, and addressed his bride in the following beautiful lines : 

Mile failte dhuit le d' bhreid ! 

Fad do re* gu'n robh thu slan ! 
Moran laithean dhuit a's sith, 

Le d' mhaitheas a's le d' ni bhi fas. 

A chulaidh cheutach so chaidh 'suas 
'S trie a tharruing buaidh air mnaoi, 

Bi sa gu subhailceach, ciallach, 

thiunnsgain thu fein 'san t-srith. 

An tus do chomhraidh, a's tu 6g, 
An tus gach 16 iarr Eigh nan dul, 

'S cha'n eagal nach dean thu gu ceart 
Gach dearbh-bheachd a bhios 'na d' ruin. 

Bl sa fialaidh, ach bi glic, 

Bi misneachdail, ach bi stold' ; 
Na bi bruidhneach, 's na bi balbh, 

Ka bi niear, no marbh, 's tu 6g. 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio, 31 

Bi gleidhteach air do dheadh ruin, 

Ach na bi duinte, 's na bi fuar, 
Na labhair air neach gu h-olc, 

'S ged labhrar ort na taisbean fuaih. 

!N"a bi gearanach fo chrois, 

Falbh socair le cupan Ian, 
Chaoidh d' an olc na tabhair speis, 

'S le do bhreid ort, mile failt I 

With the following love song by a Glengarry man I will, for 
the present, conclude : Thug mi 'n oidhche 'n raoir 'san airidh, 
Thug mi 'n oidhche 'n raoir 'san airidh, 
Cha d' fhuair mi ann bheag a chaoimhneas, 
Chionn bhi faoighneach air son Mairi. 

'Illean cridhe suidhibh socair, 
'Bhean-an-tighe lion am botul, 
Faigh an c6rn 'san tog sinn tosda, 
'S olaidh sinn an deoch air Mairi. 

Bean do choltais tha i ainneamh, 
Do dha ghruaidh mar chaorr' air mheangan, 
Faileadh na su-chraobh dhe d' anail 
Bilean tan' air dhreach na sgarlaid. 

Tha fait sniomhan mu do ghuaillean 
Cha'n 'eil strlth na chumail suas dut ; 
Gur a boidheach h'abh do chuailein, 

Bachlach, dualach, cuachach, fainneach. 

Gur a maith 'thig gun de'n t-sloda, 
Air do phearsa chuimir dhireach, 
Ciochan corrach air uchd min-gheal 

'S chlte dath an fhion tromh' d' bhraighe. 

Tha do dheudach cuimir c6mhnard, 
'S i mar iobharaidh an 6rdugh, 
Mala chaol mar ite 'n eoin, 

A's chlte 'n comhnaidh tiamh a' gh&ir' ort. 

32 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Calpa cruinn an t-siubhail utrom, 
Troidh shocair nach dochunn feur 
An ain a' chiuil a bhi ga ghleusadh 

Dh' fhaithnichinn do cheum air chlaraidh. 

'S binne liom do ghuth na smeorach 
Maduinn Cheitein am barr 6gain 
Nighean donn nara meall-shuil mbdhar 
'S e do chomhradh 'rinn mo thaladh. 

Tha thu do dh-fhion fhuil Chlann-Uaraig, 
De na fiurain nach robh suarach, 
Eadar Lianachan 's na Cluanan, 
Bu pbailt uair-eigin do chairdean. 

Tha do chairdeas dlleas daingean, 
Ri cloinn Domhnuill Ghlinne-Garaidh 
'S math a b' aithne dhomh na gallain, 
A bha dealaidh dha do mhathair. 

Tha na nighneagan an gruaim rium, 
Chionn a mheud 'sa thug mi luaidh dhut 
Ciamar dh' fhaodas mi toirt fuath dhut, 
'S liuthad buaidh a tha 'co-fhas riut. 

'S iomadh caile lachdunn chiarr-dhubh, 
'Th'air an lasadh suas le miathlachd, 
Bho na chual iad gu'm bheil miagh dhiot, 
'S nach toir gille's fhiach a ghradh dhoibh. 

Bho na chaidh thu do Dhuneideann 
'Chumail comunn ri luchd Beurla, 
'S eagal liom gu'n dean thu geilleadh, 

'S gu'm faigh fear de 'n treud air lairnh thu ! 

Bho na dh' fhalbh thu moch di-luain bhuainn, 
Air a' bhat' air bharr nan stuaidhean, 
Guidheam slan a h-uile uair dhut, 

Bho 'n rinn thu 'n taobh tuath so fhagail ! 

Annual Dinner. 33 

27TH NOVEMBER, 1878. 

Mr. Macdonald, blacksmith, Invergarry, at the meeting held 
on this date, was elected an ordinary member ; and some routine 
business was transacted. 

17iH DECEMBER, 1878. 

At this meeting, Mr. Alex. Mackenzie reported that the first 
meeting of the Federation of Celtic Societies, which was held in 
Glasgow on 20th November last, was in every way a great success, 
and he submitted the Constitution of the Federation. The objects 
of the Federation are these " The preservation of the Gaelic 
language and literature ; the encouragement of Celtic education in 
schools and colleges ; and generally the promotion of the interests 
of Highlanders in accordance with the spirit and constitution of the 
affiliated societies." 

24rTH DECEMBER, 1878. 

At the meeting on this date arrangements were made for the 
annual dinner of the Society. 


The Seventh Annual Dinner was held in the Caledonian Hotel, 
on Tuesday evening, January 14, 1879 Sir Kenneth S. Mackenzie 
of Gairloch, Bart., presided, whilst the Rev. Alex. Macgregor, Inver- 
ness, and Mr. John Mackay of Ben Reay acted as croupiers. The 
chair was supported by Provost Simpson ; the Rev. Mr. Mackenzie, 
Kilmorack; Mr. W. Jolly, H.M. Inspector of Schools; Mr. Alex- 
ander Ross, architect ; Mr. Walter Carruthers, Gordouville ; and 
Captain Neil Scobie, Mid-Fearn. Among those present were 

The Rev. Mr. Cameron, Gaelic Church; Dr. Macnee; Dr. F. 
M. Mackenzie ; Mr. Rhind, architect ; Mr. Andrew Davidson, 
sculptor; Mr. W. B. Forsyth, Millburn; Mr. Mackintosh, of 
Messrs. Mactavish & Mackintosh; Mr. Gunn, of Messrs. Gunn 
& Grant; Mr. Alex. Macleod, grocer, Bridge Street; Mr. Ross, 
of the Gas and Water Office ; Mr. Shaw, Castle Street ; Mr. Mac- 
kenzie of the Celtic Magazine; Mr. Macraild, writer; Mr. W. G. 
Stuart, draper, Castle Street ; Mr. Watt, Volunteer Arms Hotel ; 
Mr. Ewen C. Mackenzie, Broomhill of Ord ; Mr. Hood, commission 
agent ; Mr. Murdo Maclennan, carpenter ; Mr. Colin Chisholm, 
Namur Cottage ; Mr. Wallace, rector, High School ; Mr. Charles 
Mackay, carpenter ; Mr. J. Macdonald, Buckie ; Bailie Noble ; Mr. 


34 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Rose, late of London ; Mr. Macpherson, Moray Firth Steam- 
shipping Company ; Mr. John Macdonald, Exchange ; Mr. Donald 
Campbell, draper; Mr. Macdonald, live stock agent; Mr. Huntly 
Eraser, Kinmy lie's; Mr. Wm. Mackay, solicitor; Mr. Macbean, 
auctioneer; Mr. Couper, Highland Hallway; Mr. Deas, of Innes 
and Mackay, solicitors; Mr. Fraser, C.E. ; Mr. John Murdoch, 
Highlander Office ; Mr. Whyte, do. ; Mr. Wm. Mackenzie, of the 
Fres Press, Secretary to the Society; Mr. Wm. Bain, Inverness 
Courier ; Mr. James Cameron, Kingsmills Road ; Mr. Archibald 
Chisholm, Sheriff-Clerk Depute; Mr. Urquhart, Sheriff-Clerk's 
Office, &c. 

Apologies for unavoidable absence were received from 
The Earl of Seafield ; General Sir Patrick Grant, G.C.B. ; Mr. 
Fraser-Mackintosh, M.P. ; Mr. Angus Mackintosh of Holme ; Mr. 
John Mackay, Swansea ; Mr. O. H. Mackenzie of Inverewe ; the 
Rev. Dr. Maclauchlan, Edinburgh ; Colonel Macpherson of Glen- 
truim ; Captain Chisholm, Glassburn ; Major Grant, Drumbuie ; 
Mr. J. Chisholm-Gooden, London ; Dr. Charles Mackay, Fern Dell, 
Dorking ; Bailie Macdonald, Aberdeen ; Dr. Stratton, Devon port ; 
Capt. D. P. Macdonald, Invernevis, Fort- William ; Mr. Cameron 
of Clunes ; Mr. Alex. Mackenzie, architect, Glasgow ; Mr. Robert 
Fergusson, Rapploch ; Mr. Simon Mackenzie, Edinburgh ; Mr. 
Donald Davidson, solicitor, Inverness ; Mr. John Macgregor, Inver- 
moriston Hotel; Mr. A. C. Mackenzie, Mary burgh; Mr. Charles 
Fergusson, Kindrogan, Pitlochry; Mr. Alex. Ross, Alness; Mr. 
Simon Chisholm, Flowerdale, Gairloch; Mr. Thomas Mackenzie, 
Broadstone Park, Inverness; Mr. J. Macdonald, Inland Revenue, 
London ; Rev. A. C. Sutherland, Strathbraan ; Mr. E. Forsyth, 
Inverness ; Mr. H. Whyte, Glasgow ; Mr. Alex. Mackenzie, wine 
merchant, Inverness ; Rev. A. Bisset, Stratherrick ; Rev. A. Mac- 
rae, Clachan ; Dr. Mackenzie of Eileanach ; Mr. A. Burgess, Royal 
Bank, Gairloch; Rev. J. Macpherson, Lairg; Mr. D. Sinclair, 
Lochalsh ; Rev. John Sinclair, Kinlochrannoch ; Rev. J. Grant, 
M.A., Kilmuir ; Mr. Jas. Clunas, Nairn ; Mr. J. Nicolson, Birming- 
ham; Mr. John Macfarquhar, Inverness; Mr. L. Macbean, Kirk- 
caldy ; Mr. E. Macrae, Braintra ; Rev. L. Maclachlan, Tain ; Mr. 
D. Macrae, Ardintoul ; Mr. Wm. Mackenzie, solicitor, Dingwall ; 
Mr. Geo. J. Campbell, solicitor, Inverness ; Mr. James Mackintosh, 
India Street, Glasgow ; Mr. Roderick Ross, Middlesbro'-on-Tees ; 
Mr. A. Mackenzie, Ardross ; Mr. Wm. Mackenzie, factor, Ardross ; 
Mr. A. Mackintosh Shaw, London ; Mr. Alpin Chisholm, Inverness; 
Mr. H. C. Macandrew, Inverness; Mr. H. E. Cameron, Clunes, 
Lochaber; Mr. W. A. Smith, Manchester; Mr. P. A. Mackin- 

Annual Dinner. 35 

tosh, C.E., Bury ; Mr. Archibald Cameron, Glenbar ; Rev. M. Mac 
gregor, Ferrintosh, &c. 

Pipe-Major Maclennan, piper to the Society, played while the 
guests assembled ; and Mr. Menzies, as usual, supplied an excellent 
dinner. The Rev. Mr. Macgregor said grace, and, dinner over, the 
Rev. Mr. Mackenzie returned thanks. 

The Secretary, Mr. William Mackenzie, then read the following 
telegram which he had received from Mr. John Mackay, Swansea : 
" Tapadh leibh a dhaoine mo chridhe ! Bithibh dileas, fearail, 
anns gach cruaidh-chas. Piseach air a' chomunn ! Subhachas, 
slainte, agus sonus do 'D Ridire ! " 

The Chairman opened the toast list by proposing in Gaelic the 
health of Her Majesty the Queen. He next gave the Prince and 
Princess of Wales and the other members of the Royal Family, 
making a brief and suitable reference to the death of the Princess 

The Chairman next proposed very briefly the Navy, Army, and 
Reserve Forces. Captain Scobie, Highland Rifle Militia, and Cap- 
tain Ross, Inverness Artillery Volunteers, acknowledged the toast 
on behalf of the auxiliary forces. 

Mr. William Mackenzie, the secretary of the Society, read the 
Annual Report, which is as follows : 

The regular publication of the Society's Transactions renders a 
copious report of our doings during the year unnecessary at this 
time. I will therefore be very brief. Our revenue, including 82 
from last year, amounted to 236 7s. 2|d., and our expenditure 
to 204 6s. Id., leaving a balance of 32 Is. l|d. in favour of 
the Society. I wish to point out that, although the balance in our 
favour is less than what it was last year, there is no decay on the 
part of the Society, for, while last year we had to pay for one 
volume of Transactions (vol. v.), this year we had to pay for two 
(vols. vi. and vii.) the publication of two volumes being necessary 
iu order to bring the issue of the Transactions up to date. During 
the year sixty new members have joined. Much good work has 
been accomplished by the Society since our last dinner, and that its 
influence is not confined to the Highlands is amply proved by a re- 
view of our last volume of Transactions, in the current number of 
the Revue Celtique, where we are told that " the Gaelic Society of 
Inverness still continues to maintain the Celtic spirit in Scotland ; " 
and after enlarging on the different works accomplished by the So- 
ciety during the year, alluding specially to the position of Gaelic in 
Highland schools, and the Celtic Federation, which is for " defend- 
ing with greater force the national cause," the reviewer (M. Gaidoz, 

36 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

a well-known continental litterateur) says " Nous voudrions que 
les autres pays celtiques eussent le patriotisme et la te"nacite des 

The Chairman then gave the toast of the evening, Success to 
the Gaelic Society. Four years ago, he said, when I had the hon- 
our of occupying this chair, I availed myself of the opportunity to 
recount what this Society had done to fulfil the object of its insti- 
tution, and to-night, in proposing the toast of the evening, allow me 
first of all to refer shortly to something of what has taken place in 
the four years that have since elapsed, for which the Society may 
take a share of credit. The endowment of the Celtic Chair, then 
still a matter of uncertainty, has now become an accomplished fact 
thanks to the energy of our friend Professor Blackie, but thanks 
also to the existence of a feeling on which the Professor was able 
to work, which such societies as ours had done much to create. 
To our Society also, backed by the efforts of the member for this 
town, it is due principally, if not entirely, that the Scotch Educa- 
tion Department has recognised the Gaelic language as a fit medium 
of instruction for Gaelic-speaking children. Then a new magazine, 
devoted to Highland literature and Highland interests, has been 
established by your former excellent Secretary, and though it is in 
no way under our control, it very efficiently promotes some of the 
objects we have set before us, and it is not, I think, too much to 
say that the idea of providing such a periodical would never have 
taken shape but for our Society's existence. Again, only the other 
day, our Society took a prominent part in promoting a federal 
union of all the Celtic Societies of the country, by which each of 
them gains a great accession of strength. In addition to all this, 
many papers have been published in the Society's Transactions of 
permanent interest and value ; so I may fairly and honestly con- 
gratulate you, the Gaelic Society of Inverness, on having maintained 
an active and useful life. The Celtic Magazine, to which I have 
alluded, is now in its fourth year, and is, I hope and believe, an 
assured success. It opened its third volume with an essay on 
" The Poetry and Prose of a Highland Croft," which attracted so 
much observation that our leading Scottish journal thought the 
public sufficiently interested to make it worth sending a special 
commissioner to the West Highlands, to report on this abnormal 
element of society the West Coast crofter. The Commissioner's 
letters were of course widely read, and intended to extend the area 
of discussion. The Scotsman itself could see in the croft system only 
an unmitigated evil ; others (like the Highlander in this town), 
could see in it nothing but good ; while a third party, admitting 

Annual Dinner. 37 

the misery spoken to by the Celtic Magazine and the Scotsman's 
commissioner, thought that by legislation (of a character which I 
fear they did not clearly define to themselves), the crofter's position 
might be brought back to that of an ideal past, in which I have no 
doubt they firmly believed. The subject has for the present ceased 
to be before the public, but differing as I do from the views of all 
to whom I have referred, I should like to give you my own opinion 
upon it if, in doing so, I do not take too great advantage of the po- 
sition I occupy, and trespass too largely on the time of a social 
gathering. I am not going to speak of bygone evictions, nor of the 
middle-class Highland farmers, who have to a large extent disap- 
peared, but of the crofter population, as we now find it on the West 
Coast and on the islands that border it ; a population that lives by 
manual labour, and whose condition, to be rightly judged of, must 
be compared with that of unskilled labourers elsewhere in Britain. 
Now, there may be very little poetry in rising at five, and being at 
work by six, in labouring ten hours a-day in summer, and from 
daylight to dark in winter, but the ordinary agricultural labourer 
finds no hardship in it, neither should the crofter ; although (let it 
be said in passing) he does not, when residing at home on his croft, 
rise very often at five, or do anything like the amount of an agri- 
cultural labourer's work, except perhaps for an odd week or two 
at seed-time. The hardship of his lot lies not in any toil or 
slavery to be endured at home, but in the fact that his croft under 
present conditions does not produce enough to maintain himself and 
his family, and that day's wages are not to be earned in the neigh- 
bourhood. So he has to leave his home for months in order to eke 
out a livelihood, and being naturally tempted to return whenever 
he has gathered what he hopes will pull him through the year, he 
seldom has to spare ; while, if work is scarce, or the fishing bad, or 
the harvest a failure, there may not only be nothing to spare, but 
there may be absolute want. There is then no question that the 
West Coast crofter seldom finds himself able to indulge in luxury. 
If by frugal living he manages just to keep himself out of reach of 
want, his position is still not one that outsiders are inclined to 
envy ; but it is absolutely certain that, despite the hardships with 
which he has to contend, not one crofter in ten desires to change 
his condition, by removing with his family to some other part of 
the country, where he could have regular employment for twelve 
months in the year. It is this fact that puts to the rout all theories 
as to the misery of the crofter. He has miseries, undoubtedly. 
Who has not ? But, on the other hand, it is equally certain that 
(however invisible they may be to others) he has compensating ad- 

38 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

vantages which make him prefer his present fate to any other that 
lies open to him elsewhere. He does not care to forfeit advantages 
he possesses for others less esteemed by him. If I may so put it, 
the bad prose of his life is tempered by a poetry which to him 
makes life more enjoyable than where it is all prose, even of a better 
kind. Nor let it be supposed that I think his contentment founded 
on an unsubstantial basis because I speak of it as partly due to 
sentiment. If, for a time, he has to leave his family, and endure 
toil and hardship for the rest of the year, he has compensation in 
being his own master, and in enjoying much more ease than the ordi- 
nary labourer does. If he has to live frugally, and sometimes even 
finds himself stinted, he has, on the other hand, an assured home, 
surrounded by neighbours whose fathers were his father's neigh- 
bours, where the members of his family that have gone out into the 
world will still occasionally return to gladden his eyes ; a home in 
which they will maintain him when he is overtaken by age and 
frailty, and in which he may expect to be succeeded by his sons. 
And who that knows what sacrifices a labourer will make to keep 
a cow, and what attachment springs up between every member of 
his family and the petted animal, but must admit the greater inte- 
rest that centres in a crofter's home, with its small stocking of cattle 
and sheep, than in a home which fate has cast in a village garret or 
in some alley or close of a large town. Whether I am right or 
wrong in the reasons 1 thus assign for the crofter's content, this 
must be accepted as a fact, that for no increase of material plenty, 
which is within his reach, will he give up his present surroundings, 
and surely he knows better than his critics what tends most to his 
own happiness. But I not only maintain on this ground that he 
is happier where he is at the present time than he -would be else- 
where, but further, that his actual condition now is better than ever 
was that of his predecessors of the same class before, and that his 
circumstances have improved, and are improving before our eyes in 
this generation. At what period were persons of the crofter class 
better off in the Highlands than those that are left there now 1 Be- 
fore the time of the Union, the Highlands was a scene of anarchy. 
The records of the condition of the people in those times are in- 
deed scanty ; but such as they are, they tell chiefly of tribal feuds, 
of lands harried, of revenges taken, of battle and murder, and sud- 
den death. The prose of life in those days had no doubt a good 
deal of compensating poetry, but even the West Highland crofter 
of to-day would not think the compensation sufficient. Passing 
from those times to the eighteenth century, let me refer to three or 
four volumes that I doubt not are in the Society's library, from 

Annual Dinner. 39 

which a tolerable idea can be gathered of the condition of the popu- 
lation in the Highlands at the time when these books were respec- 
tively written. In the beginning of Queen Anne's reign, Martin, 
a Skyeman, published a book on the Hebrides. It is full of won- 
ders, sorcery, second-sight, and marvellous properties possessed by 
men, animals, and places in the islands. The one thing that is 
never described except in passing remarks, is the ordinary condition 
of the inhabitants. But from these passing remarks we learn some- 
thing of what that condition was. There was not in Martin's time 
sufficient food to maintain either the people or their cattle. Of the 
latter, many, he says, died in winter and spring. He had known 
particular persons lose above one hundred cows at a time, merely 
by want of fodder. As for the people, he more than once reports 
that many of them were forced, for want of subsistence at home, to 
seek their livelihood in foreign countries. Scarcity is so common 
apparently that he speaks of it regretfully, no doubt, but without 
astonishment. At Tiree, he mentions how a flock of bottlenosed 
whales ran themselves ashore " very seasonably in time of scarcity, 
for the natives did eat them all." But of the scarcity which re- 
duced the population to such food he makes no further men- 
tion. It is a common every-day occurrence, casually referred to 
in mentioning this wonderful and seasonable supply. Five-and- 
thirty years after Martin's time we have the very graphic letters 
of Captain Burt, written from this town. He did not penetrate 
to the West Coast except at Fort- William, but he tells us a 
good deal of the inhabitants hereabouts, and between here and 
Lochaber, and we may be sure their condition was not worse 
than that of those on the North-west Coasts. Burt tells us that 
even in the most favourable seasons the country hereabouts pro- 
duced barely sufficient grain for its own supply, that in other 
seasons there was a deficiency, and he had known consterna- 
tion in Inverness for want of oatmeal, when the shipping had been 
retarded, and he tells how, being once at Fort- William, a poor 
woman came to the garrison to beg for oatmeal for her starving 
family, and refused money, because there was no food in the country 
that could be purchased with it. He had known of as many as 200 
horses die of a spring from starvation, in the neighbourhood of 
Inverness. He was paying himself 4s. a bushel for the oats with 
which he fed his horse (its present price being only 2s. 4d.), and 
money was so scarce that the country women who came to the 
town could not afford the pontage bodle (l-6th of a penny), but 
waded the river up to their middles with heavy burdens on their 
backs. He says the poverty of the field-labourer was deplorable, 

40 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

and that the maid-servants at his lodgings got only three half- 
crowns a-year of wages, and a peck of meal a- week for hoard, i.e., 
1 Ib. a-day, which was just the test wage allowed by the Relief 
Committee during the potato famine in 1847. None of this is set 
clown in ill-nature. He defends the Highlanders from the charge 
of indolence commonly brought against them. He says he was 
annoyed by the importunity with which they sought work at a 
time when he had some doing, and that when they have gained 
strength from substantial food they work as well as others ; and 
he reflects, " Why should a people be branded with the name of 
idlers when there is no profitable work for them to doT With 
reference to the farms, he mentions that 12 merks Scots (13s. 4d.) 
was a common rent, and many rents were still smaller, and that 
when tacksmen held land at a rent of ,30 or 40 they frequently 
or commonly sub-let it again in these small holdings, so you see the 
smallness of the modern crofter's holdings is nothing new. The 
poverty of the tenants was such that a portion of arrears had to be 
wiped off every year, involving to the landlord an average loss of 
one-fifth of the rental. If we pass over another thirty-five years, 
we come to the time of Pennant's tour. I must not detain you by 
any long reference to what he says, but will quote one well-known 
passage. " Hundreds annually drag through the season a wretched 
life, and numbers unknown in all parts of the Western Highlands 
(nothing local is intended) fall beneath the pressure, some of 
hunger, more of the putrid fever, the epidemic of the coasts 
originating from unwholesome food, the dire effects of necessity : 
moral and innocent victims ! first finding that place ' where the 
wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.'" Pennant's 
tour was written two years before the outbreak of the American 
War, and it was not till its conclusion that sheep farming was in- 
troduced north of the Grampians, and that the old tenants began to 
be disturbed in their occupation of the land. Let me refer you 
further to the Rev. John Buchanan's account of the Long Island, 
from 1782 to 1790, for an even more melancholy account of the 
condition of the people. There is not only poverty but oppression, 
and poverty resulting from oppression. My own ancestors, who 
were not, I believe, thought bad landlords as times went, all 
through the last century bound their tenants to deliver to them 
their saleable cattle at a reasonable price and I suppose the power 
of determining what was reasonable when tenants had only 
five years' tacks lay very much with the laird and down to 
the commencement of this century, those tenants living near the 
coast had to keep fishing gear and boats, proportioned to the size 

Annual Dinner. 41 

of their farms and sufficient sub-tenants to work them, and were 
bound to deliver their fish at a fixed price to a curer who had a 
contract with the laird. This is a state of things that has abso- 
lutely passed away. Such penury and misery as is spoken of by 
the authors I have quoted is not now to be met with, nor are ten- 
ants subjected to such tyrannical obligations as those that formerly 
existed on the Gairloch property ; and I maintain that, in respect 
of freedom from poverty and oppression, the crofter of to-day is 
better off than the crofter of the eighteenth century, and in every 
way is more happily circumstanced than his ancestor of a still ear- 
lier time, who was, perhaps, roasted in the Church of Gilchrist, or 
stifled in the cave of Eigg. And not only this, but coming down 
from those remote times (our conceptions of which, though true in 
outline perhaps, are apt to be coloured by our imaginations) to the 
period covered by our own times, I cannot help saying that the 
condition of the crofter population on the West Coast with which 
I come in contact has undergone a vast improvement in the last 
thirty years, and I think a very visible improvement even in the 
last ten years. If any one asks me for its sign, let him look at the 
houses erected now-a-days by crofters, when they find it necessary 
to renew their habitations, and compare them, if he has reached 
middle age, with those with which crofters were contented in the 
days of his boyhood. Or let him observe them going to the East 
Coast fishing, and see how many tramp it with their bags on their 
backs, as in days of yore. Even if disappointed in securing a place 
on the coach, they will turn back and wait for another day rather 
than walk to the nearest railway station, though their fathers 
trudged the whole way to Morayshire without a grumble. When 
I see these signs of progress, I think there is cause for satisfaction, 
even though the progress has not reached the point that I should 
wish to see. There are those who make light of the West High- 
lander's attachment to his home, and who think that, if his material 
condition were much better than it is, he would still be an incubus 
to the country. They believe the small farm system to be detri- 
mental to the national interests, since the producer consumes all he 
produces, and adds nothing to the accumulations of the nation, and 
they would have all the crofts thrown into large farms, and their 
tenants drafted off to work for day's wages at some other productive 
employment. The state of trade at the present time scarcely gives 
much encouragement to views of this kind. Ten days ago Lord 
Derby, speaking at Rochdale, made mention of a suggestion that 
distress might be relieved by inverting this process, and forming 
small farms out of large ones for the employment of surplus town 

42 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

populations. It is true he did not speak hopefully of the project, 
but he thought it an experiment worth trying ; and when a states- 
man of his character thus speaks, I do not think that, for political 
reasons, we should part with a crofter population which we find 
existing in contentment, even though its circumstances are poor. 
The crofter's advancement hitherto has been due to three influences 
education, improved means of locomotion and communication, 
and the general prosperity of Eritain. The two first have permitted 
him to take advantage of the last. He has been enabled to go out 
into the world and bring home the spoils of labour. But what we 
really want for him is to have the opportunity of winning those 
spoils at home. Now, the only industries for which there seems to 
be any opening on the West Coast are those of fishing and hus- 
bandry. The West Highlander is more or less of a fisherman, but 
is not a successful one. It has been observed that all coast popu- 
lations that have the advantages of good harbours to which they 
can easily run for safety make bad seamen ; and it is a fact that 
the Moray Firth fisherman, partly no doubt from his better ma- 
terial, but still more from his energy and hardihood, will go to the 
West Coast fishing and catch there three times as much as the na- 
tives do. I am therefore rather hopeless of ever making the fishing 
on the West Coast a sound native industry, and I place more re- 
liance on husbandry. It has been stated in the Celtic Magazine, 
and stated, I believe, correctly, that as at present cultivated a four- 
acre croft in the West Highlands does not produce more than two 
bolls of meal and twelve of potatoes. There is evidently room here 
for great improvement, for such returns would not pay the cost of 
cultivation on a large arable farm. If you look on this side of the 
watershed you see that the Highlander is quite capable of adopt- 
ing the new and improved forms of agriculture which he sees in 
practice around him, and I believe these improvements will ex- 
tend to the West in time. At present the invincible force 
of habit leads the West Coast crofter to follow the system of 
cultivation inherited from his father, but with the increase of 
education and of intercourse with the world, we may expect local 
customs will obtain a less domineering influence. Certain it is that 
if his idle hours in winter were spent in draining his croft and 
loosening its subsoil, he might have three times the return from it 
he now has. Four acres properly cultivated, with the rights of 
common pasturage he possesses, would give him a bare subsistence: 
to make him comfortable he should have six or eight arable acres. 
And no doubt in the circumstances I assume he would soon come 
to have that. With the increased value arable land would then 

Annual Dinner. 43 

possess he would be glad to reclaim more from its native state with 
a little encouragement from the laird. If there were no subject fit 
for reclamation, and the country was really over-populated, the 
spread of education and facilities of locomotion would tend to thin 
the population to its proper limits; but the crofters' home is so 
much more attractive than that of others in the same class of life, 
that I do not think any such voluntary emigration would likely 
take place as would lead to the abandonment of the crofting system. 
Thus I not only see progress in the past and in the present, but am 
able to look forward with hope to the future. You will observe 
that though I speak of a hopeful future, I do so without looking to 
Parliament for its aid. To tell the truth, I never could understand 
in what way Parliamentary action could be beneficial. Parliament 
does not undertake to distribute private property except when a 
man dies intestate, and it has ceased to subsidise particular in- 
dustries out of the general funds of the nation. Some changes in 
the land laws are looked forward to, but, on the whole, I think 
these changes would rather tend to the doing away with small 
farms altogether than to the amelioration of the condition of the 
small farmer. The future of the crofter is, I take it mainly, in his 
own hands and in those of his landlord, but especially in his own. 
Public opinion may indeed act as a bar to harsh actions on the part 
of the landlord, and as an incentive to increased exertion on the 
part of a more enlightened generation of crofters accessible to its 
influence, but that is all the outside help which the crofter is, I 
think, likely to get. As the judicious exponent of public opinion, 
this Society may be able to befriend him. If it can assist him in 
any other way to which I am blind, none would rejoice more than I. 
Time forbids me to enter on the question of croft tenure, as in- 
deed, I owe you an apology for the length at which I have already 
spoken, and I will not detain you further than to express my hope 
and my confidence that the Gaelic Society of Inverness will always 
maintain as warm an interest in the people of the West Highlands 
as in the language and literature of their inheritance, and will so 
continue to secure the adherence, attachment, and support of all 
true Highlanders. 

The toast was then drunk with great enthusiasm. 

The Eev. Mr. Macgregor, who was greeted with loud applause, 
said Is i an Deoch-slainte a chuireadh 'nam lamhaibh an 
nochd " Deoch-slainte nan Uaislean sin a tha air an sonrachadh 
gu bhi 'nam Buill ann an Ard-Chomhairle na Rioghachd air son gach 
Siorrachd agus Baile Kioghail ann an Gaidhealtachd na h-Alba." 
Tha na Buill sin lionmhor, moran diubh arm an ard-inbh, gu leir 

44 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

cliu-thoilltinneach, agus airidh air deagh-dhurachd a' Chomuinn so ; 
ach air domhsa a bhi gun eolas agam ach air triuir diubh a mhain, 
cha'n ainmich mi fa leth ach iadsan na'n aonar eadhon iadsan a 
tha 'nam Buill air son Siorrachd Rois, Siorrachd Inbhimis, Baile 
Inbhirnis agus na Frith-Bhailte Rioghail a tha dluth-cheangailte 
ris. Toisichidh mi le Siorrachd Hois, thairis air am bheil Alasdair 
Mac-Mhathain na Bhall dhe 'n Pharlamaid, mar a bha e air na 
Bailtibh so an toiseach. Tha sinn uile fad, fad an comain a' 
Mhathanaich shuairce agus fhad-cheannach ! Mar b' e esan, cha 
bhiodh an t-Each-iaruinn a' sitrich gach maduinn, agus meadhon 
latha agus feasgair, troimh ar sraidean air a steud-thurasaibh luain- 
each gu deas agus tuath gu Baile-Dheorsa, an t-Eilean Sgiathanach, 
agus bailte na h-airde-tuath, agus air tionndadh dha gu deas, leum- 
aidh e thar gach creag agus corrach-bheann, gus an ruig e cornh- 
nardan Baile Pheairt ! Is iongantach an creutair an t-Each-iaruinn ! 
Cha'n iarr e ach druthag uisge, agus gealbhan teine, agus an sin 
mithidh e mar a' ghaoth fein ! Is e am Mathanach mor 'na ghlio- 
cas, a' shuidhich tuineachas agus dachaidh an Eich-iaruinn 's a 
Bhaile so. Mar b' e gu'n do ghlac e am fath gu'n do bhuail e an . 
t-iarunn an uair a bha e teth, agus gu'n do ghreas e cuisean air an 
aghaidh le 'cheann agus le 'chuid (agus is mor iad le cheile), cha 
chluinneamaid gleadhraich nan ceardaichean agus nam buthan lion- 
mhor sin 's a Bhaile so, far am bheil na ceudan a' faotuinn obair 
agus teachd-an-tir, agus far am bheil gach feumalachd air a' dheas- 
achadh a dh' iarras na slighean-iaruinn ! Is iongantach na cear- 
daichean iad sin ! Tha gach inneal agus udalan, gach cnag agus 
slat, gach dul agus dealg, gach rothan agus mul, air an dealbhadh 
leis an luchd-ealaidh dhe gach gne, agus cha'n fhaicear anns na 
ceardaichibh sin a thall 's a bhos ach gach obair-innealta agus eal- 
anta, cuibhlean, ruidhlean, rothlairean, luidheirean, agus cearcaill 
dhe gach meud ! Is e am Mathanach ceudna a dh' ath-uraich taobh- 
an-iar na h-aibhne againn le roidibh, sraidibh, agus aitreibhean lion- 
mhor a chumadh agus a thogail. Is airidh esan air deagh-mn na 
cuideachd so. Dh' ainmichinn a nis am Ball uasal sin a thaghadh 
air son ar siorrachd fein eadhon Lochiall, duin-uasal, suairce, 
ceanalta, deas-bhriathrach, agus aigeantach, le bhreacan-an-fheile ! 
Thainig e o shinnsear a bha gaisgeil agus treun ann an tuasaidibh f 
nam Fineachan, co maith 'sann an dionadh na Rioghacd. Bha e K 
'gabhail suim 'sa Pharlamaid 'san am, do na reachdaibh a rinneadh 
a thaobh nan sgoilean ura a shuidhicheadh 'nar tir, agus cha'n 'eil 
teagamh nach robh e furachair air cuisibh eile adhartachadh ; ach 
tha duil aig an Ard-Albannach nach d' rinn Lochiall idir na dh' 
fheudadh e air son leas nan Gaidheal agus na Gaidhealtachd ; ach 

Annual Dinner. 45 

biodh sin mar a dh' fheudas, bheir sinne guth maith do Cheann- 
cinnidh nan Camshronach, le bhi 'guidhe dha saoghal fad agus 
deagh bheatba. Ach, " gach dileas gu deireadh," dh' ainnmichinn a 
nis Teavlach coiragainn fein ; ach gabhaibh mo leisgeul, cha deanainn 
ach smal a cbur air a bliuaidhibh tarbhach le bhi toiseachadh air an 
aithris. Tha sibh uile eolach orra, agus cha chomas domhsa an 
luaidh. Togaidh a' Ghailig agus na Gaidheil fianuis air a threubh- 
antas. Tha Clachnacudainn fathast a' fuaim le h-iolach-gaire a' 
ruhor chuideachd a chuir urram air o chionn uine nach fada air ais 
agus is airidh e air deagh-mheas a' Chomuinn so, dhe 'm bheil e 
'na phriomh-bhall urramach, agus tlachd-cridhe mhuinntir nara 
Bailtean sin, air son am bheil e 'seasamh ann an Ard-chomhairle na 
Rioghachd. Aoh cluinnibh mi, ann an aon fhocal eile m'an co'- 
dhuin mi ; agus 'se sin, gu'm bheil mi'n dochas gu'n d' thig an la 
anns am bi ar caraid uasal, ionmhuinn, cinneadail fein an Eidir 
Coinneach Ghearrloch, (a tha aig ceann a' bhuird an nochd) 'na 
Bhall ann am Parlamaid na Rioghachd air son cearnaidh air chor-eigin 
'nar tir ! Ochan 'se dheanadh an gaire-mor ri sin an Ceilteach, seadh, 
agus an t-Ard-Albannach mar an ceudna, ged nach ann de shliochd 
'nan cabar e : ach dheanamaid uile e, oir c'ait am bheil uasal ni's 
airidh na esan air urram, agus ni's freagarraiche na e, chum dleas'- 
nais na dreuchda sin a cho'-lionadh ] Leis gach iolach agus urram 
'nar comus, olamaid Deoch Slainte nan Uaislean sin a tha air an 
sonrachadh gu bhi 'nani Buill ann an Ard-chomhairle na Rioghachd, 
air son gach Siorrachd agus Baile Rioghail ann an Gaidhealtachd na 

Mr. "Wm. Mackay, solicitor, Inverness, proposed the next toast. 
He said Unfortunately, our country " Tir nam Beann, nan 
Gleann, 's nan Gai.sgeach" is at present under a cloud, the like of 
which has not darkened the land within the memory of man. On 
the beautiful notes of the Caledonian Bank are engraved the very 
words of our toast " Tir nam Beann, nan Gleann, 's nan Gaisgeach" 
shewing that the institution is peculiarly a Highland one, and 
that its founders, who adopted that motto, loved our bens and glens, 
and the people who inhabited them and well were the best inte- 
rests of the Highlands kept in view by the Bank. I have recently 
had occasion to read the minutes of the Company, and the annual 
reports of the Directors from 1838 (when the Bank was established) 
until 1878, when it suspended business, and I was much struck 
with the uniform anxiety of the Directors and officials from the 
first to the last to encourage trade in the Highlands, and to give 
every legitimate assistance to Highland farmers, large and small. 
The advantages of this policy were mutual, and it is due to those 

46 Gaelic Society of Inverness- 

who managed the Bank that we should acknowledge that while 
they did give such liberal encouragement and assistance, the man- 
agement of the Bank attained a position in the confidence of the 
public second to none in the kingdom. But all that is changed. 
The institution which has for forty years been the pride and the boon 
of our country has been rudely shaken. Its beautiful notes with 
their picture of our Highland capital are even already hardly to be 
seen, those little banners with their proud legend of " Tir nam 
Beann, nan Gleann, 's nan Gaisgeach" are laid low, and that too by 
the hand of the Saxon. Glasgow two centuries ago had unpleasant 
experiences of the tender mercies of the Highland host. It has now 
had a fell if a tardy revenge. And here I may refer to the fact 
that the three Celtic corners of the kingdom are at present similarly 
afflicted. First, our Highland Bank suspended, then the Bank of 
South Wales closed its doors ; and now the Cornish Bank has fol- 
lowed suit. I am not to enlarge upon this coincidence, I only 
mention it as a remarkable one. Well, the horizon is dark, but we 
must not be discouraged. The Highlands " Tir nam Beann" 
will survive this catastrophe as it has done former disasters. We are 
are all agreed that if our country is to prosper as it has hitherto 
done, we must have a local bank. Upon this point all who are 
interested in the fate of the Caledonian are united directors, offi- 
cials, shareholders, and customers. But upon the question how 
this end is to be attained, there are, I am sorry to say, serious dif- 
ferences of opinion. Where so many older and more experienced 
men are endeavouring to point out the true path, I will not pre- 
sume to raise my hand ; but this you will allow me to say that if 
those interested in the Caledonian Bank are to get out of their pre- 
sent difficulties it is not by each of them adopting a course of his 
own, and insisting that his is the only true course. We must cease 
to impute sinister motives to, and make groundless accusations 
against, those to whom to a large extent we owe the high position 
the Bank occupied until the collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank, 
those who had nothing to gain but everything to lose by the death 
of the Caledonian ; and finally, we must no longer allow ourselves 
to be tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine 
that may appear in print. 

Mr. John Macdonald, Exchange, who was called on to respond, 
said the references of the last speaker to then- local disaster were 
calculated to cast a gloom over their otherwise pleasant meeting. 
He trusted, however, that the cloud of distress at present hanging 
over the Highlands would soon pass away. But the circumstances 
of the people of the north were by no means so gloomy and dis- 

Annual Dinner. 47 

tressing as in other parts of the country, where hundreds could not 
obtain work and were being fed by common charity. There was 
every reason, indeed, to be hopeful ; and when they looked back 
to the times referred to by their excellent Chairman, in his able and 
exhaustive address, they might well consider they were not so badly 
off after all, und that as in the past they would successfully emerge 
from all their present troubles. As Sir Kenneth had said, much 
depended on their lairds, but very much on the Highlanders them- 
selves. When it was known what could be produced in various 
branches of industry under the most disadvantageous circumstances, 
the Highland people did not stand in the most favourable contrast. 
A good deal of the spare time of the Highland crofter for it was 
well known he had much time on his hand turned to little or no 
account might be devoted to the production of various useful 
articles of handicraft, such as were produced in the south in blind 
asylums and other similar institutions, by people who had only the 
use of one-half of their limbs and faculties. He by no means meant 
that the Highlanders were in the same condition as such people ; 
what he meant to convey was that the Highland crofter had better 
physical and mental ability at present lying dormant, and plenty 
time at his disposal to turn it to practical account. The public 
press could not do better in this part of the country than earnestly 
urge upon Highlanders to imitate those who made the most of their 
time by engaging in honest and profitable labour. 

Mr. Mackay of Ben Reay proposed the next toast. He said Sir 
Kenneth and gentlemen, The Council of the Society made a great 
mistake when they selected me to propose the toast of the Celtic 
Language, Celtic Literature, and the Celtic Chair. A man who has 
for his motto as I have, " with a strong hand," is not likely to be a 
man of many words. I am a man of few words, so it was cruel to 
insist that I should propose three toasts in one for the language, the 
literature, and the chair each being itself worthy of a separate 
speech. However, it is with great pleasure that I put the tri-une 
toast before you, and its importance will, I am certain, ensure for 
it an enthusiastic reception. It is unnecessary that I should say a 
word by way of commending the language, for it is the mother 
tongue of most of us, and of course will carry with it feelings of 
affection, sympathy, and warm-heartedness, which it is impossible 
to convey through any other channel. The influence of the lan- 
guage which we have spoken in our youth is proverbial ; and any 
one who has sojourned in a foreign country, or lived in a distant 
colony, must know how a word or a phrase that he has not heard 
since he left his home in the old fatherland, sends a thrill of emotion 

48 Gaelic Society of Inverness, 

through him that no other influence can produce. I have felt it 
myself, and seen its workings in others, when thousands of miles 
away from the hills and glens of old Scotland. The Celtic lan- 
guage, and especially our branch of it the Scoto-Gaelic being 
peculiarly one of poetry, and of the affections, and highly expres- 
sive, clings perhaps with greater tenderness in the feelings of those 
who speak it than any other. Take away the language (and I may 
also say the dress) of a people, and you denationalise that people at 
once. And yet I have heard many a one say that Gaelic is of no 
value, and that it would do better if it were numbered among the 
tongues of the past ; but a language that is the vehicle of communi- 
cation among upwards of 300,000 of the people of Scotland, is 
surely of some account, and worthy of the serious consideration of 
every well-wisher of his country. Depend upon it, if you ever see 
a Highlander ashamed of his Gaelic, give him a wide berth ; he is 
not to be trusted ! I am not going to attempt to give you a history 
of the language, but shall say that of its antiquity there can be 
no doubt ; and the fact that the key to the meaning of the names 
of places all over Scotland, and also to some extent in England, is 
to be found in the Gaelic, is surely a very good reason why we 
should wish to preserve it. " The Gaelic Topography of Scotland," 
a valuable work by Colonel Eobertson, is sufficient in itself to 
satisfy even the most sceptical on this point. Colonel Kobertson 
says : " As to the present Highlanders' language, let the intelli- 
gent reader duly weigh and consider the fact of the numerous river 
names in England and Scotland. . . . The etymology of each 
can only with truth be assigned to the Gaelic language of the High- 
landers. . . . When these facts are duly weighed and con- 
sidered, it may be seen that it is a truth which cannot be contro- 
verted . . . that the present Gaelic language of the High- 
landers is identical with the Gaelic names of all places in every 
part of Scotland and the islands, and that their language is thereby 
unquestionably the same as that of the Caledonians, by whom alone 
all the original Gaelic names of places were given, particularly 
those of the numerous mountains, rivers, lakes, valleys, islands, &c., 
&c., throughout the whole extent of Scotland." From the language 
to the literature of the Gael is an easy and a natural step. I was 
asked by a visitor the other day if the Highlanders really had a 
literature, when, as an answer, I took from my book-shelves a copy 
of Reid's " Bibliotheca Scoto-Celtica," and said "Look at that. 
There is a list of the Scottish-Gaelic books which were known to be 
in existence fifty years ago ;" and my friend was surprised at their 
number. It is true that, with the exception of poetry, most of the 

Annual Dinner. 49 

works are translations ; yet the whole forms a valuable collection, 
and numbers 170 separate works. But Reid's list was compiled at 
a time when but little attention was paid to Gaelic literature. 
" The Beauties of Gaelic Poetry" had not been published ; " The 
Book of the Dean of Lisinore" was unknown ; and I doubt even if 
that most indefatigable of collectors, J. F. Campbell of Islay, had 
been born. Mr. Campbell, as you all know, gave us some years 
ago his four interesting volumes of " West Highland Tales," and 
more recently that extraordinary and valuable collection of Heroic 
Ballads, orally collected by himself and those who assisted him. I 
mean " Leabhar na Feinne." That volume contains a mass of 
poetic literature of which any nation may be proud. I may also 
refer to " The Gaelic Etymology of the English Language," by Dr. 
Charles Mackay, and however opinions may differ as to some of his 
derivations, it is a volume that shows an amount of research and 
patient investigation that merits our warmest thanks ; and, as a 
help in philological study, it is of the highest value. I need not 
notice the many pamphlets, magazines, and newspapers which have 
been attempted in Gaelic. Somehow or other they have not been 
successful. The "Welsh, on the other hand, either because they 
are more enthusiastic in their Celtic fire than we are, or from 
some other cause which I cannot explain, support newspapers in 
then- mother tongue, which, apparently, we cannot. Still, in 
Inverness, we have the Highlander and the Celtic Magazine, for 
both of which we are thankful. I will not refer to the many books, 
either in Irish or Welsh, although the former is so closely allied, 
but will merely say that Irish Gaelic has received a stimulus that 
is likely to bring within reach of those who wish to read them, 
copies of nearly all the valuable manuscripts in that branch of the 
language. But to appreciate the literature it is necessary that we 
should be able to read the language, for it is a painful fact that of 
the many thousands who speak Gaelic very few can read it. Reid, 
in the introduction to his " Bibliotheca-Scoto-Celtica,'' to which I 
have already referred, wrote in 1832 as follows : " At the present 
moment, although great exertions are making by many distinguished 
friends of Celtic literature to perpetuate the language. .... 
yet they have to contend with opponents to which they can offer 
but trifling resistance. The steamboats and stage-coaches which 
are now visiting the Highlands do more in one season to chase away 
the Gaelic than all the combined powers of those who are labouring 
in its behalf could remedy in twenty years. The listlessness evinced 
by many of the Highland clergy to the stud}' of the Gaelic language 
is another powerful reason for its ... decline. These gen tie - 


50 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

men could do more for the cause of Gaelic literature than any other 
class, if they cared much about it. ... They could fan its ex- 
piring spark by patronising the simple and primitive laity in their 
parishes who evince an ardour in its cultivation. They could 
strongly recommend its being learned at school by the children of 
their parishioners, but this, we are sorry to say, is not done." Now, 
what Eeid, in the quotation I have just read, says of the clergy in 
1832 is applicable, I fear, to a great many of them in 1879. But 
what I am surprised at is that the School Boards in the Highlands 
seem to take very little interest in promoting the knowledge of 
Gaelic. At the meeting of the Edinburgh Sutherland Association, 
held last week, I noticed that the Rev. Dr. Maclauchlan referred to 
this want of interest with great regret. After the efforts which 
were made, and successfully, to get Gaelic placed in the School lists, 
I think that our Society should keep the matter before the School 
Boards, so that not only, as Dr. Maclauchlan expressed it, might 
Highlanders be able to read the Bible in their own language, but 
also that they may read these glorious old ballads and songs which 
tell of the heroes of ancient days, and which invariably have a 
moral lesson on the side of truth and virtue ! What can I say 
about the Chair? Only this, that as we have a language and a 
literature we require a Chair in which to install a Professor, to ex- 
plain the structure of the one and the beauties of the other. The 
establishment of that Chair is now an accomplished fact, and if the 
year 1878 will in after ages be spoken of as a black year for Scot- 
land (and after all the recent disasters I fear it will), then T hope 
that 1879 will be a red letter year for the Highlands of Scotland, 
because in it was founded, and the first Professor appointed to the 
Chair of Celtic Literature in the University of Edinburgh. Pro- 
fessor Blackie stated last week that he was only short XI 70 to com- 
plete his 12,000, and that he would have it within the next three 
months. Three cheers then for the worthy Professor, for we owe a 
debt of gratitude to him which can never be repaid. Since coming 
into this room I have been handed a letter from my namesake of 
Swansea, in which he says he has sent an additional sum of 50 to 
Blackie, as a contribution to the chair from friends in South Wales, 
and now he says he and his friends are going to raise money to 
found bursaries. I call then also for three cheers for John Mackay 
of Swansea, the President of our Society. I couple the toast with 
the name of Mr. John Whyte, Highlander Office. 

Mr John Whyte, in replying, after some preliminary remarks, 
said To go into any elaborate line of proof to show that we have 
a literature were as unnecessary as it would be impertinent at a 

Annual Dinner. 51 

gathering of the Gaelic Society of Inverness. We have a pretty 
extensive, and, as testified even by those who only taste of it 
through the medium of translation, a most valuable heritage of 
written literature handed down to us from the past. And there 
falls to be added to this the vast treasures of that field which is 
but just entered upon I mean that of our unwritten literature. 
Of the labours of the workers in this department it would take me 
too much time to speak aye even to mention their names. You 
have not a few of them present here this evening.. Then there is 
the great and very successful work that is being done by the socie- 
ties both in Ireland and America, for the preservation of the Irish 
language. I am sure we all wish them prosperity in their under- 
taking, for there can be no denying that their language and ours 
are all but identical, and that had their relationship and ours in 
other respects been more cordial and friendly and co-operative in 
the past, as we hope they may be in the future may I not say as 
we hope to make them in the future we should have been less 
likely to have allowed ourselves to suppose that a whole hemisphere 
of difference existed between them and us iu language and race and 
sentiment. Henceforth let it be our endeavour to make common 
interest with them and say, " Let there be no strife between me 
and thee, for we be brethren." Another great branch of our Celtic 
Literature which I am glad to see is receiving more intelligent con- 
sideration than it did in times past, and one which is sure to 
prove a most opulent field for the explorer,, is that of our Celtic 
music. I am sorry that I can only say our secular music, for un- 
fortunately, and from causes very much beyond our control, our 
ecclesiastical music in the Highlands is in a condition that is very 
far from creditable and satisfactory. Our secular song has been of 
late receiving the attention of our musicians and of others interested 
in the matter. Our magazines, notably the late Gael and the Celtic 
Magazine, as well as the Highlander, have been doing good work 
in the direction of rescuing and preserving some of our lyric songs 
and tunes, which are in danger of being lost. The other day I had 
the pleasure of seeing the first two numbers of a new musical perio- 
dical called The Thistle, edited by Mr Colin Brown, the Euiiig 
Lecturer on Music in the Andersonian University, Glasgow, a true 
Highlander, and one eminently qualified to enter intelligently and 
scientifically into the subject. The numbers which I have seen 
are most interesting to us as Highlanders, and I am sure the work 
will prove one of great value. Thus you see that from our great 
Archbishop Blackie, at the head of our Celtic Hierarchy, down to 
the lowest curate, the Celtic hive is all in motion, and it only 

52 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

remains for us individually and as societies to do all we can to 
assist in the good work. 

The Eev. Mr. Mackenzie, Kilmorack, who on rising was very 
cordially received, said I have the honour to ask you to join rue 
in the expression of our cordial good-will towards the other societies 
which are federated with our own. Let me remark at the outset 
that these societies constitute a cheering fact and a great power, 
and the greater the power the more important it is that it should be 
wisely directed and strenuously exercised. Far be it from me to 
cast any reflection upon those societies in general or upon our own 
in particular. On the contrary, I readily admit the right of the 
members of this Society the only one with whose work I am 
acquainted to congratulate themselves on the growing value and 
variety of their papers from year to year. Still I cannot but re- 
gret that the language itself, in anything like a wide and philo- 
logical sense, receives but comparatively little attention, more' 
especially as every question more interesting than another is as yet 
quite undetermined. If you ask how old is it 1 you get the most 
vague and even contradictory answers. If you ask where is its 
primeval seat 1 some answer the west of Europe, while some with 
greater reason regard it as the primeval language of all Europe, and 
of a large portion of Asia besides. And if you ask how does it 
stand in relation to the other ancient tongues? still the same doubt; 
some linguists admitting that it along with these languages are 
daughters of a now dead mother, while others at the least one other 
are prepared to maintain that in its oldest or topographical form it 
is itself the mother the living mother, the veritable Alma Mater of 
all the Aryan tongues, Sanscrit itself not excepted. I have been 
occupied of late in going over Eopp's Sanscrit roots, and I have 
come to form a strong opinion that in everything that constitutes 
oldness, Gaelic in its oldest form is indefinitely older than this pet 
language of modern linguists. Now I am very sure that all these 
points shall ultimately be determined, and it is because we have 
the materials in our hands as others have not for their determina- 
tion, that I would earnestly urge upon this and the other federated 
societies the propriety of devoting their main strength to the 
cultivation of the language itself in the wide view that I have 
indicated. As to the mode of doing this I would be far from 
recommending anything that might seem repressive or restric- 
tive. The division of labour is now acknowledged in every 
department of enquiry. Every man gets on best when he is per- 
mitted to choose the line for which he has special aptitude. By 
all means let your gifted and versatile member, " Xether Lochaber," 

Annual Dinner. 53 

continue to lead his detachment, as he has done to such good pur- 
pose, in the line of proverb and poetry. And let Mr Ferguson con- 
tinue his investigation into the terras of natural history, taking up 
animal and vegetable life, and others equally capable and earnest in 
their own departments. But I feel confident that there are in all 
the societies young members possessed of linguistic faculty, and 
eager for its cultivation, and let me assure them, as the result of long 
and arduous study in this same field, that acquaintance with the 
Celtic dialects, earlier and later, is of inestimable value as the basis 
of Aryan philology. Finally, there are three lines of operation 
which I can only mention. (1.) L>y a cautious etymology to resolve 
compound words into their component parts, and having obtained 
their simplest vocable or root words, then endeavour to determine 
their original forms. Yes, there is no greater mistake than to 
imagine that Gaelic is now as it once was. It has undergone 
immense changes, so that three steps of abrasions are clearly trace- 
able. (2.) Once having determined these simple roots and their 
primeval forms, you are in a condition to prove by evidence that 
cannot be controverted, the title of our venerable Gaelic to rank 
as the oldest member of all the Aryan tongues. (3.) Then 
you can turn to the record of Topography, and may behold in every 
country in Europe, and in by far the greatest portion of Asia, in 
thousands and tens of thousands of expressions, the indelible proof 
of primeval occupancy by a Gaelic speaking race. I speak 
advisedly when I say that " Bad " (locality) ; " Bagh " (bay) ; 
" Baile " (town) ; " Gala " (harbour) ; " Ceann " (head) ; "Dail" 
(dale) ; " Dun " (town), and numbers besides are as rife in Asia as 
in our own country. I have great pleasure in proposing "The 
Federation of Celtic Societies," coupling the toast with the name of 
Mr Colin Chisholm. 

Mr. Colin Chisholm, in responding, said that had there been 
such a combination of men of knowledge and of intellect inaugu- 
rated at the beginning of the present century certain portions of 
the Highlands could not be such miserable wrecks as they now 
are, without men, means, or enterprise. And he earnestly hoped 
that this organization, of hitherto detached forces, would, with hope, 
intelligence, and courage, lead the various Highland societies onward 
in the gieat work of social and physical improvement, so much 
needed in the land. Mr. Chisholm concluded amidst great applause 
with the following new Gaelic song in honour of the chairman ; 

54 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

CHORUS Gu'm bu slan do clheadh Shir Coinneach, 
Sheas e 'choinneainh mar .a b' abhaist, 
Cridheil, uasal, eolach, cliuiteach, 

Mar cheann-iuil do Chlann nan Gaidheal. 

Ochd c<md deug, naoi deug 's tri fichead, 
Sin a' bbliadhna 's math leinu aireamh, 
Fhuair sinn urram bho Shir Coinneach, 

'JS" gaisgeach foinnidh 's Triath air Ghearrloch. 
Gu'm bu slan, &c. 

luchair-ghliocais an taobh tuath so, 
Gu'm a buan an t-urram dhasa, 
Ceann na ceille, steidh nam buadhan 
Deadh Shir Coinneach nasal Ghearrloch. 
Gu'm bu slan, &c. 

Cha'n 'eil Goill aige dha 'n arach, 
'S iad na Gaidheil fhein bu chinntich, 
Sheas iad cruadalach ro dhileas 

Le craobh-shinnsridh Oighre Ghearrloch. 
Gum bu slan, &c. 

Tha gach tighearn' a's duiu'-uasal, 
'S an taobh tuath gu leir ag ratainn, 
Nach eil uachdaran cho buadhach 
Ei Sir Coinneach uasal Ghearrloch. 
Gu'm bu slan, &c. 

Tha gach oganach 's gach buachaill, 
Tha gach tuathanach 's gach armunn, 
Deas gu eiridh, ealamh, uallach, 

Mar bu dual do mhuinntir Ghearrloch. 
Gu'm bu slan,&c. 

'S mairg a dhuisgeadh anns an uair sin 
Aobhar gruaim no culaidh thaire ; 
'S grad a chiosaichte gach fuathas 

Le Clann Eachainn Euaidh a Ghearrloch. 
Gu'm bu slan, &c. 

A nnual Dinner. 55 

Fhad 'sa ruitheas uisg a fuaran, 
Fhad 'sa ghluaiseas tonn air saile, 
Gus an traigh na h-eoin na cuaintean, 

Gu'n robh buaidh air teaghlach Ghearrloch ! 
Gu'm bu slan, &c. 

The next toast was " The Provost, Magistrates, and Town 
Council of Inverness," proposed by Mr. Ross, architect, and re- 
sponded to by Bailie Noble in the absence of the Provost, who 
had been called away. 

Mr. Jolly looked upon it as a compliment to have been asked 
to propose the toast of " The Non-resident Members," for it showed 
that they considered him, though no Highlander in blood, one in 
Highland sentiment and feeling. He classed the Non-resident 
Members as expatriated Highlanders who carried with them an 
ardent love of their country, and who had laboured for the good 
and credit of their country and race men like the chief of the 
Society ; and (2) men of other nationalities, who, like himself (Mr. 
J.), had a strong admiration for the Celtic character, and desired 
the real good of the race. The Highlandman was always proud and 
happy to cherish his native sympathies and to carry a true High- 
land heart even under the burning tropics, and, though born abroad, 
still to feel the nobler and braver that his fathers had planted their 
feet on their native heather, and in many a noble story had borne a 
noble part. Who had helped most earnestly and most substantially 
their successful founding of the Celtic Chair, under their late chief, 
Professor Blackie 1 ? The non-resident Highlanders. Who desired 
the regeneration of the Highland people, and the development in 
them of true self-dependence, true self-respect, and true self-asser- 
tion ] The non-resident Highlanders. Who, in short, were their 
truest friends in heart, hand, and pocket in all their best endeav- 
ours as Highland men 1 These same distant friends, distant only in 
space, not in spirit. There was something especially ardent in the 
love of an absent mountaineer for his native glens. Many things 
contributed to produce higher devotion, and not least the rare beauty 
of the land itself. But the second class of non-resident members 
deserved to be specially remembered on such an occasion, the non- 
Highland members of the Society. They were one great element 
of their strength, a worthy strong right arm. It was the best proof 
of the righteousness of their position and demands that they had 
so many non-Highland members, willing and able to sympathise 
with and help them. That showed that the work in which they 
were engaged was not merely sectional, but national, and that the 

r >0 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

country was becoming alive to the importance of the questions 
which their Society represented. The Highlanders required, and 
were beginning to realise the importance of self-help, to cherish a 
spirit of self-dependence, to look into the riches of their own tongue, 
and to use it for the best advantage ; to investigate the conditions 
of their whole well-being, and to endeavour so to act as to make 
themselves independent and happy amidst their beautiful glens and 

Captain Scobie briefly acknowledged the toast. 

The other toasts were The Clergy, by Mr. Donald Campbell, and 
acknowledged by the Eev. Mr. Macgregor ; The Press, by Bailie 
Noble ; The Chairman, who was pledged with Highland honours 
and great cheering, by Mr. Walter Carruthers ; and The Croupiers, 
by Mr. John Macdonald, Buckie. 

In course of the evening songs were given by Mr. Mackay of 
Ben Eeay, Mr. John Whyte, Mr. W. G. Stuart, and Mr. Jolly. 
Altogether the dinner was a great success. 

29m JANUARY, 1879. 

At this meeting the thanks of the Society were awarded to Sir 
Kenneth S. Mackenzie, for the manner in which he presided at the 
last Annual Dinner of the Society ; and the office-bearers for the 
year were then nominated. 

5TH FEBRUARY, 1879. 

The office-bearers for the year were elected at the meeting on 
this date. Their names will be found on another page. 

12iH FEBRUARY, 1879. 

Some routine business having been transacted, Mr. Colin 
Chisholm, Namur Cottage, Inverness, read the following paper on 


History records that St. Columba, the pious founder of the 
Monks of lona, was born at Gartlan, in Donegal, in the year of our 
Lord 521. It is stated that he was of royal pedigree, both by pa- 
ternal and maternal descent. His father was one of the eight sons 
of O'Neil of the nine hostages, supreme monarch of all Ireland, and 
his mother was a daughter of the Royal House of Leinster. Ac- 
cording to some Irish writers, his proper name was Corinthian, but 

The Monks of fona. 57 

was called by his companions Columan, or Dove. From his attach- 
ment to the church he was also called Colum-Cille, or Columb of 
the Church. At an early age he was placed under the care of a 
holy priest. His biographer, Adamnan, the 6th Abbot of lona, 
tells us that he afterwards resided with the saintly Bishop Finnian, 
at Moville, County Down. St. Columba went from the north to 
the south of Ireland, and took up his residence at Cluanard College, 
in Leinster, which was resorted to by the most eminent sages and 
divines of the day. In due time he was ordained priest, and began 
his labour with apostolic zeal. In his twenty-fifth year of age, he 
founded the monastery of Derry, and in the year 553 that of 
Durrow. O'Curry, the late eminent Celtic scholar, in his Lectures 
on the Manuscript-Materials of Ancient Irish History, says, that 
the eight great races of Ireland are O'Neill and O'Donnell in the 
north, O'Brien and M'Carthy in the south, O'Moore and O'Byrne in 
the east, and O'Connor and O'Eourke in the west. 

This union of noble races, combined with piety and education, 
gave St. Columba extensive influence. Usher and O'Donnell state 
that he founded more than one hundred monastries before his de- 
parture from Ireland. We have it on the authority of Adamnan 
that St Columba was in the vigour of manhood, being 42 years of 
age, when he established himself in lona. All testimonies agree in 
celebrating his personal beauty. His height, his voice, and his 
cordiality were very remarkable. Venerable Bede thus writes: 
" Columba came into Britain in the ninth year of the reign of 
Bridius, who was the son of Meilochon, and the powerful king of 
the Pictish nation, and he converted that nation to the faith of 
Christ by his preaching and example ; whereupon, he also received 
the aforesaid island for a monastery. His successors hold the 
island to this day." Eitson, in his Annals of the Caledonians, says 
that " Conal MacConguil, King of the Scots, was the real benefactor 
of the holy man." 

The late Dr. Norman Macleod (the father of the late editor of 
Good Words) tells us, in his eloquent Gaelic life of St. Columba. 
that Columba left Ireland in a little curach in the year of our Lord 
563, accompanied by twelve of his select and beloved disciples. 
He reached that lonely island behind Mull, which is called from 
that time / Challum Chille.* A writer in the London Examiner, 
January 7th, 1871, states that on the arrival of St. Columba at 
lona, " he set himself to establish, on the double basis of intellec- 
tual and manual labour, the new community which was henceforth 

* Vide " Leabhar nan cnoc," p. 43-53, 

o8 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

to be the centre of his activity." How far he succeeded in his 
gigantic undertaking will be seen by another extract I translated 
from the polished Gaelic of Dr. M'Leod. After dwelling with evi- 
dent sympathy on the difficulties St. Columba encountered among 
the Druids and their uncivilized Caledonian followers, the Doctor says 
" The country itself was at that time like a vast wilderness, with- 
out way or safe roads through the thick dark woods, the hills exten- 
sive and full of wild beasts. But in spite of all this, he parsevered, 
and that in a measure miraculous. During thirty-four years he 
worked hard founding churches, and spreading the Gospel of 
Christ. In his own time he saw the Druidic religion condemned, 
and the kingdom of Scotland converted to the religion of the 
Gospel." The Doctor states that St. Columba established three 
hundred churches in his day, and that he founded one hundred 

We are told that the small curach, or coracle, in which St. 
Columba and his twelve companions came from Ireland, was built 
of wicker-work, covered with hide. It appears that the Celtic 
nations navigated their stormy seas with such flotilla. In the 
frail skiffs of that period, St. Columba and his Monks sailed from 
island to island through the Hebrides, and thus they discovered 
St. Kilda, the Faroe Islands, and even reached Iceland. Not only 
did they spread Christianity through the islands, but through the 
inlands of Caledonia, carrying truth, light, and religion to the re- 
motest glens and valleys of the Highlands and Lowlands also. We 
have the testimony of our earliest writers bearing us out in this be- 
lief. We have also the strongest collateral evidence in support of 
it; and let me now direct your attention to a few places south, 
north, east, and west where the Monks of lona and their disciples 
planted religion, and dedicated their churches and chapels to Saints, 
of unmistakable Celtic names. 

County or Town. Name of Church. 

Berwickshire Cill or Eaglais founded by Gospatrick. 

Do. ...Cill-Lauran. 

Peeblesshire Cill-Bothoc, or Beathoc. 

Do Cill or Gill Moriston (changed in 1189 to 


Ayrshire Cill-Bride. 

Do Cill-Ninian. 

Dumfriesshire Gill-Michael, in the town of Dumfries. 

Do. Eccles-Fechan. 

Wigtonshire Cill-Cholm. 

The Monks of lona. 59 

County or Town. Name of Church. 

Linlithgowshire...Cill or Eaglais-Machan. 

Do. ...Gill or Dailmanich, or Delmenie. 
Dumbartonshire. . .Gill-Patrick. 
Renfrewshire Cill-Barchan. 

Do Cill-Fillan. 

Do Cill-Chalum. 

Stirlingshire Gill-Earn. 

Do. Cill-Nin|m (Bannockburn). 

Haddingtonshire... Gill-Lady (now Glade's Muir Church). 

Kirkcudbright Cill-Eren. 

Perthshire Cill-Chonan or Fortingal. 

Do .....Cill-Fhinn. 

Do Cill-Madoc. 

Forf arshire Cill-Causnan. 

Edinburgh Cill-Ghiles, i. e. , Ghille lona. 

Fife Cill-Chonnchar. 

Do Cill-Eaymont. 

Do Cill-Reuny. 

Aberdeenshire Cill-Bartha. 

Do Cill-Adaninan. In the Ellon district, and dedi- 
cated in the 7th century. 
Sutherland Gill-Earn. 

Do Cill-Donnan. 

Do Cill-Pheadar, in Clyne. 

Do Cill-Chalum-Chill, Clyne. 

Ross-shire Gill-Martin. 

Do Cill-Donnan. 

Do Cill-Earnan. 

Do Cill-Fhillan, ), ,, . v - . ., 

mi TT- * f ooth m Kintail. 
Do Cill-Uistean, j 

Inverness Cill-Colm, Petty. The Earl of Moray has also the 

title of Lord of St. Colm, from a small island 
on the coast of Fife. 

Do Cill-Beathan, Strathglass. 

Do Cill-Uradan, do. 

Do Gill-Finnan, Glengarry. 

Do Cill-Donnan , also in Glengarry. 

Do Cill-Barr, or Barra Isle. 

Do GUI-Michael, do. 

Argyleshire Cill-Chalum, in Lorn. 

Do Cill-Finan. 

Do Cill-Choinich, or Kenneth. 

<><> Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

County or Town. Name of Church. 

Argyleshire Cill-Chiaran (Campbletown). 

Do Cill-Oran, in Colonsy Island. 

Kincardiuesliire . . . Cill-Lauvan. The birthplace of John De Fordun, 
author of the Scoto-Cltronicon. This parish is 
also celebrated for having been the residence, 
and probably the burial place of St. Palladius, 
sent to Scotland by Pope Celestine, in 431. 
St. Palladius was the first bishop sent to 



Having taken you in imagination on a rapid pilgrimage to view, 
if not to pray with me at, the shrines of Celtic Saints in every quar- 
ter and portion of our native country, is it too much, to expect you 
to endorse with me the honest statement of Dr. M'Leod 1 

We have seen how the surface of Scotland has been studded 
with churches dedicated to saints of Celtic names ; but the sceptic 
will exchiim, " You North Britons are so very clannish, that noth- 
ing less than national saints will satisfy you." My answer to any 
such charge is that there are more names of Roman saints on the 
Scottish Catholic Kalendar than on the Kalendar of any country of 
its size in Europe. 

The Order of St. Columba was one of the most extensive, for 
it had a hundred monasteries and abbeys belonging to it in the 
British islands. The principal house or head of the Order was at 
lona. It was in this lonely island that St. Columba, who was a 
priest and monk only, received the homage of mitred bishops and 
crowned monarchs. 

In the time of Venerable Bede, about the year 731, all the 
bishops of the Picts were subject to the jurisdiction of the priest 
that was Abbot of lona. Kings sought advice, and received both 
counsel and consolation from St. Columba. Fierce warriors, bitter 
enemies, proud and haughty chieftains, were reconciled, and ab- 
solved on bended knee before him. Feuds and contentions were 
abandoned and obliterated before St. Columba. In his presence 
mutual friendship and goodwill were entered on, and sealed by oath 
on three stones. As these stones correspond in number with the 
three Divine persons of the blessed Trinity, it is possible that St. 
Columba might have pointed them out, or even used them in some 
religious sense, so as to make a lasting impression on the minds of 
the newly reconciled parties, and incline them, for the rest of their 
lives, to recoil with horror from participating in the acts of belli- 
gerents. History and legend seem to be mutually silent on this 

The Monks of lona. 61 

point ; therefore, let this view of swearing on the " Three black 
stones of lona," be received for what it is worth. 

Thus we find St. Coluinba had the power of binding the hands 
and the hearts of the most determined enemies. He exercised his 
power in preventing wars, and in pacifying all manner of human 
turbulence. We find the kings, the courts, and the people of the 
surrounding nations had reposed unbounded confidence in him. 
Yet in the very midst of this, much more than regal power could 
bestow, we find that his palace was a hut, built of planks, and there 
up to an advanced age, he slept upon the hard floor, only with a stone 
for a pillow. Thither he returned after performing his share of out- 
door labour with the other monks, and there he patiently transcribed 
the sacred text of Scripture. When he had come to the thirty- 
third Psalm, he stopped and said, " Baithean will write the rest." 
On the next morning he hastened before the other monks to the 
church, and knelt before the altar, and there he died, in the arms of 
Diarmad, blessing all his disciples, on the 9th day of- June, 597. 

" To us," says Montalembert, ' ' looking back, he appears a person 
as singular as he is loveable, in whom, through all the mists of the 
past, and all the cross lights of legend, the man may be still recog- 
nised under the Saint." " For two centuries/' says Dr. S. M'Corry, 
" after his death, lona was the most venerated sanctuary of the 
Celts, the nursery of bishops, and the centre of learning and reli- 
gious knowledge. Seventy kings or princes were brought to lona, to 
be buried at the feet of St. Columba, faithful to a traditional custom, 
the remembrance of which has been preserved by Shakespeare : 

' Where is Duncan's body 1 ' 
asks Rose, in Macbeth. Macduff replies 
' Carried to Colme's Kill, the 
Sacred storehouse of his predecessors, 
And guardian of their bones.' " 

A kindred expression of thought has been placed on record by 
the bi-linguist poet, Evan MacColl, formerly of Lochfineside, but 
latterly tuning his lyre to the rustling of the " Green Maple Tree " 
in Canada. In one of his plaintive Odes to lona, MacColl says : 
" Sacred Isle of lona, 
Where saints and heroes 
Live in stone." 

It is admitted by critics that Dr. Johnson wrote one of the 
finest pieces in the English language on lona. Wordsworth, and a 
host of master-minds, wrote on lona. 

" The distinguished archaeologist," says Dr. Stewart M'Corry, 

62 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

" Dr. Keeves, who, although not a catholic, has proved his honesty 
of purpose by editing so well ' Adamnan's Life of St. Columba,' 
has given us in his ' Chronicon Hyenese' the detailed chronology of 
the forty -nine successors of St. Columba from 597 to 1219. We 
have it on the best possible authority that the first eleven abbots of 
lona after St. Columba proceeded, with the exception of one indi- 
vidual, from the same stock as himself from the race of Tirconnel, 
and were all descended from the same son of Neall of the nine 
hostages, the famous king of all Ireland." 

I will now make a few remarks about St. Baithean. He was 
steward of lona, and succeeded St. Columba as Abbot of lona. It 
is stated that Baithean consecrated the burying-ground of my na- 
tive valley, Strathglass. Be that as it may, it is quite certain that 
the cill or clachan in Strathglass is dedicated to St. Baithean. There 
is a small green mound close to the cill or clachan called Cnoc 
Bhaithean, at the foot of which gushes out a spring of the clearest 
and coldest water, also called Fuaran Bhaithean. The legend 
relaters of the district state that a clodhopper began to cut rinds for 
thatch on the brow of Cnoc Bhaithean. A well-meaning neighbour 
reminded him that the mound was considered sacred, as bearing the 
name of Cnoc Bhaithean. The scornful and contumelious reply 
the neighbour received from the insolent clodhopper was " 0, 
Baithean maol carrach bhuaininn foid eadar a bhial 's a shroin." Ann 
am priobadh an roisg, thuit an duine truagh, iuar marbh thairis air 
crasg a chaibe-lair a bha na lamhan fhein. The English equiva- 
lent of the reply, and the immediate result thereof, may be taken as 
the following " 0, Bald scald-headed Baithean, I would cut a sod 
between his mouth and his nose." In the twinkling of an eye, the 
miserable man fell lifeless over the cross-handles of the rind-spade 
he had in his own hands. The sceptic will exclaim, who cares for 
misty legends ! The Kev. Dr. Steward M'Corry tells us that Mil- 
man, in his Latin Christianity, Vol. L, p. 415, writes "History, 
to be true, must condescend to speak the language of legend." 

Nicholas Carlisle is answerable for the appearance of the following 
statement regarding lona in his " Topographical Dictionary of Scot- 
land," London, 1813 " The Chapel of the Nunnery is now used by 
the inhabitants as a kind of general cow-house, and the bottom is 
consequently too miry for examination. Some of the stones which 
covered the later Abbesses have inscriptions, which might yet be 
read if the Chapel were cleaned. The Cemetery of the Nunnery 
was, till very lately, regarded with such reverence that only women 
were buried in it. Besides the two principal churches, there are, T 
think, five chapels yet standing, and three more remembered." 

The Monks oflona. 63 

Carlisle continues the sickening narrative, and states that " the wood 
forming the roof of the churches and chapels in lona, was the first 
plunder of needy rapacity." For the honour of our country I wish 
we could suppose that Mr. Carlisle had been misinformed about 
the unroofing of the churches and chapels in lona. 

It is not my intention to lead you at present through the roof- 
less but noble ruins of the cathedral and churches of lona, the 
walls of which have been described in a leading journal as " riddled 
and cracked in a most alarming manner." Neither shall we be 
seen along with tramping tourist and brousing cattle defacing the 
tombs, and disturbing the ashes of the saintly, princely, and heroic 
dead in the consecrated cemetery. 

In the Irish annals there is preserved a short account of events 
in lona, carried on from year to year. Under date of A.D. 794, there is 
this entry " Devastation of all the islands by the heathens." From 
this time forward, during a period of no less than three hundred 
years, lona was frequently ravaged, its churches and monasteries 
burnt, and its brethren murdered by the savage Northmen. It is 
stated that the bones of St Columba were carried to safer places 
to Kells in Ireland, and to Dunkeld in Scotland. 

lona was the only place spared by Magnus, King of Norway, 
in his predatory expedition of A.D. 1098. The fierce King Magnus 
is said to have recoiled with awe when he had attempted to enter 
the church built by the Saintly English Princess, Queen Margaret, 
wife of Malcolm Ceanmore. 

The recent improvements in and around St. Mungo's Cathedral 
in Glasgow are attributed to a happy remark, vouchsafed by Her 
Majesty Queen Victoria, on Her Majesty's visit to that cathedral 
during the Royal Tour through the West Highlands. Some of us 
had fondly expected that Her Majesty would have been graciously 
pleased to extend her queenly journey, and steer her royal bark 
to lona's Isle. Thus we flattered ourselves to hear that Queen 
Victoria, like Queen Margaret, had landed on the hallowed Isle of 

From that auspicious moment we expected to have heard that 
an edict had gone forth warning the elements, saying in effect this 
is the oldest Christian temple in Great Britain. The work of 
destruction and dilapidation must cease instanter, and henceforth 
give place to preservation and restoration. 

Sin agaibh brlgh mo sgeoil. 

64 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

19iH FEBRUARY, 1879. 

At the meeting on this date the principal business was the 
reading of the following paper by Mr. James Barren, of the 
Inverness Courier, on 


The history of the Celtic Province of Moray takes us back to a 
remote period, on which the light is dim and fitful. All that any 
one can do is to endeavour to ascertain the probable nature of move- 
ments, the details of which are obscure and to most modern readers 
possessing but feeble interest. The facts in the following paper are 
mainly derived from Mr. Skene's " Celtic Scotland," and Mr. 
Anderson's " Orkneyinga Saga," but they are of course applied to 
special purposes, and made the basis of inferences for which these 
authorities are not responsible. I may say that our retrospect in- 
cludes the period from the seventh century to the twelfth, but 
before entering on the narrative a few preliminary observations are 

In the first place, it is assumed that the so-called Picts of the 
early centuries of our era were Celts the ancestors of the race 
that still inhabits the Scottish Highlands. Modern inquiry seems 
to establish this beyond reasonable doubt. Although we cannot 
enter into the controversy, it may be pointed out that a king of the 
Picts had undoubtedly a royal seat at Inverness in the middle of 
the sixth century ; and, when a few centuries later the district 
becomes familiar to histor} r , the inhabitants are found to be a 
purely Celtic people. There is nothing whatever to show that in 
the interval the Gael destroyed and supplanted an older race ; 
while on the contrary there is a good deal to show that the natives 
continued to carry on a warfare, varying in fortune, but on the 
whole fairly successful, first with Irish immigrants, then with 
Angles or Saxons, and latterly with ferocious Norsemen. As the 
territory has been occupied by Celts throughout the entire period of 
authentic history, it would require very clear evidence to demon- 
strate that the Picts and Caledonians of the immediately preceding 
centuries were a different race. To clinch the argument, Mr. Skene 
furnishes a list of about 150 Pictish words, a portion of which are 
purely Irish or Gaelic in their forms, while the rest show an ad- 
mixture of other Celtic tongues. 

The Komans finally quitted the island of Britain in 410, and 
for centuries thereafter, so far as there is any record at all, the 

The Celtic Province of Moray. 65 

history is a succession of struggles either between native tribes 
and principalites, or between Celts and Teutonic assailants. The 
purest and most conservative Celts seem to have been the in- 
habitants of the district now known as the counties of Inverness 
and Koss. Viewed on a large scale, the history of the Highlands 
is the history of Celtic resistance to foreign inroads and foreign 
usages. Many of the wars waged by the northern Gael against 
the early Scottish kings arose from the devotion of the people to 
their own customs and laws of succession, and their hatred of 
practices introduced by the monarchs under English and Norman 
influences. There are three marked periods in these struggles. 
The first is the reign of William the Lion, who succeeded after 
repeated and severe efforts in quelling the spirit of the north ; and 
the decisive battle was fought in 1187, while the headquarters of 
the king were established at Inverness. The discontent and turbu- 
lence of the middle ages received a decisive check by the memorable 
battle of Harlaw, in 1411. Once again the Celts had another 
chance in the conflict between the Stuarts and their Parliaments, 
and the revolution which placed the house of Hanover on the 
British throne. We all know that this third rising ended in the 
disastrous field of Culloden, and the ravages and proscriptions of 

In rapidly tracing the early history, it is necessary to remark 
that we regard Inveiness as having been the centre of the native 
northern state. The town itself was probably nothing more than a 
cluster of huts, and perhaps it did not occupy exactly its present 
site ; but indications are not wanting that in this neighbourhood 
there existed what was in some sort a native capital The central 
situation of the spot supports the supposition, and the abundant 
archaeological remains with which we are familiar, are not without 
significance in the same connection. But further we know, as 1 
have said, that a king of the Picts in the sixth century had his 
residence at Inverness ; and five centuries afterwards Macbeth had 
a stronghold here. The conqueror of Macbeth, Malcolm Canmore, 
is said to have erected a fortified place on the present Castle Hill : 
and soon after his day the Castle of Inverness was the most im- 
portant stronghold in the northern part of the kingdom. It 
is clear that the town, which became a royal burgh in the twelfth 
century, was not then a new creation. Its importance was only 
then recognised by William the Lion, and it had previously been 
mentioned by David I. as one of the local capitals of the realm. 
We do not say that in early days Inverness was a populous place ; 
but there seems little reason to doubt that it was the residence of 


66 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

leading chiefs or princes, and in all probability the capital of Moray- 

After the departure of the Romans, a century and a-half elapsed 
of which little is really known. It appears, however, that about 
the year 498 or 500, a colony of Scots came over from Ire- 
land and settled in Kintyre. These Scots were Christians, and the 
northern Picts were heathens ; but in 563 Columba arrived at lona, 
and he and his successors converted the Picts to Christianity. The 
visit of Columba to King Brude, at his palace near the river N"ess, 
does not enter into the scope of the present paper. What then is 
the state of matters which we find existing in Scotland in the 
seventh century ? We find four kingdoms three of which are 
Celtic, and one Teutonic. The largest of these consisted of the 
Picts, who occupied the greater part of the territory north of the 
Firth of Foith ; then we have the Scots, who occupied the greater 
part of what is now Argyllshire ; then the Britons, whose territory 
extended along the west from Clyde to Cumberland ; and, lastly, 
the Ai gles, who held the east coast from the Forth to the Humber. 
The Picts, though nominally united, consisted of two divisions 
one lying to the north, and the other to the south of the Grampians ; 
or, perhaps more exactly, one to the north, and the other to the east 
and south of the Spey. Considering the nature of the country and 
the tribal character of Celtic communities, it is not likely that the 
union between the two parts was ever very strong ; but they seem 
at times to have recognised the same sovereign, and the feeling of 
race or nationality was decided enough to induce them to combine 
against a common enemy. The southern Picts were subjected to 
the more frequent attacks, and they were more liable than their 
northern confederates to have their customs gradually broken down 
by contact or collision with aggressive neighbours. To this fact is 
to be attributed the separation which ultimately took place between 
the two sections of the Pictish race, and the greater tenacity with 
which our northern forefathers clung to their native forms of law 
and government. 

Uhe order of royal succession among the Picts is acknowledged 
to have been peculiar. Brothers might succeed one another, but 
failing these, the relationship was reckoned through the female line. 
The list of monarchs, we are told, " does not present a single 
instance of a son directly succeeding his father." When brothers 
failed, the throne passed to the sons of sisters, or to the nearest 
male relation on the female side. In the Scottish kingdom of 
Argyllshire the custom was different. There the law of Tanistry pre- 
vailed ; that is, the most competent male member of the royal house 

The Geltic Province of Moray. 67 

was chosen, under the name of Tanist, to lead the armies and to suc- 
ceed to the crown. Latterly, under the influence of the Teutonic 
element, the succession from father to son began to prevail south of 
the Grampians, and the resistance to this innovation led to frequent 
and sanguinary contests. Here again it may he desirahle to point 
out that the northern Celts were, as we should expect, the last to 
acquiesce in the new order of things. 

The struggles between the four kingdoms were fierce and pro- 
tracted. The Argyllshire or Dalriadic Scots maintained a long 
friendship with the northern Picts, but to the east and south they, 
for a time, carried everything before them. Their conquering career 
however was brought to a close in 642, when their king, Donald 
Breac, was slain in a battle with the Britons of Strathclyde. Next 
the^Angles obtained supremacy, extending their empire over Strath- 
clyde, Dalriada, and the southern Picts. During this period the 
northern Picts, sheltered behind the Grampians, retained their 
independence. The tribes of the north selected as their king a 
scion of the royal house named Bredei, who is recorded to have laid 
siege, in 680, to Dunbeath, in Caithness. He is also said to have 
laid waste the Orkney Islands, and turning southwards he attempted, 
in concert with the Dalriadic Scots, to make head against Ecgi'rid, 
the powerful Anglican King. In the plains of the Lowlands he 
had little chance of success, but Ecgfrid had the temerity to ad- 
vance northwards, and in 685 he was cut off with his army in 
attempting to penetrate the mountain chain at Dunnichen, in 
Forfarshire. Bredei once more united the Picts, but the connection 
between south and north appears to have been looser than ever. 
Religious dissensions helped forward separation. The Columbau 
Church had hitherto been independent of .Rome, but the latter was 
gradually pushing its way northward from England. The date for 
the observance of Easter was a source of constant dispute, and in 
710 King Nectan submitted to Rome and adopted Latin customs. 
Not content with this, he expelled the Columban clergy from 
the southern districts, where his authority was supreme, and the 
exiles sought refuge among the Scots, and probably also in the 
more remote districts of the northern Picts. It would be superfluous 
to dwell upon this ecclesiastical quarrel here ; we merely note it as 
another of the forces which tended to break up the unity of the 
Pictish kingdom. 

Angus, a powerful king of the Picts, who reigned from 731 to 
761, conquered the Scots and turned Dalriada into a Pictish pro- 
vince. Sometime afterwards, about 780, there occurred, according 
to Mr. Skene, the first distinct breach in the Pictish law of sue- 

68 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

cession. Through contact and occasional alliance with the Saxons, 
the southern Picts were now becoming familiar with alien practices, 
and they accordingly chose Talorgan, the son of Angus, to be their 
sovereign, while the northern provinces adhered to a king named 
Drest, who, we may presume, was according to their law the 
legitimate monarch. The breach appears to have been healed, but 
soon the attacks of a new foe distracted the weakly-compacted 
kingdom. In 793 the Norsemen descended upon the island of 
Lindisfarne, and for a long period they continued periodically to 
alarm and devastate the country. Orkney became an important 
seat of their power ; Caithness became the patrimony of a iX orse 
earl. Norse vessels carried terror along the west coast and through- 
out the western islands, where fur a time the invaders were supreme. 
The shores of the Moiay Firth became the scene of frequent visita- 
tions, and indeed all parts of the coast, east and west, suffered from 
these piratical inroads. During the period of confusion and anarchy 
which occurred, a new dynasty established itself south of the 
Grampians. Kenneth Macalpin, a Dalriadic Scot, but connected in 
some way with the Pictish royal family, made good his claims with 
the sword. In 844 he became firmly seated on the throne, and 
founded a line of sovereigns who succeeded one another according 
to the law of Tanistry. But Mr. Skene shows that their power 
was confined at first to the provinces of the southern Picts, and 
their enemies were for a long time too numerous to permit any 
extension of their sovereignty over the northern provinces. 

We have now in some measure disentangled the history of our 
northern district, and may continue to follow more closely its indi- 
vidual fortunes. Our position is that from the first the union be- 
tween the northern and southern Picts was but a slight confederacy 
that from the nature of the country and the known customs of Celtic 
tribes, it could not well have been otherwise ; that in course of time 
the connection was weakened by transformations among the southern 
Picts ; and that during the anarchy in the middle of the ninth cen- 
tury, the northern district, or so much of it as the Norse did not 
actually conquer, became virtually independent The great northern 
province was Moravia, or Moray, which seems to have extended, in 
its widest sense, from the river Spey on the east, to the watershed 
of the present county of Eoss on the west ; and from Loch Lochy 
on the south, to the Kyle of Sutherland on the north. From the 
few indications that exist it is natural to infer we should say it is 
almost certain that Inverness was the capital of this region. The 
native rulers, styled Maormors sometimes, indeed, called Kings 
had by no means an easy position. The Norse power, which had 

The Ce/t/c Province of Moray. 69 

established its footing in Caithness and Sutherland, pressed them 
on the one side, the Scottish Kings on the other ; and the recollec- 
tion of this simple fact will help to clear up much that would 
otherwise be unintelligible in our early local history. We may be- 
lieve that the princes of Moray and their people cherished an al- 
most equal dislike to their northern and southern foes. The one 
was a race of pirates, the other of degenerate Celts ; and the prim- 
ary duty of the Moraymen was to preserve their own independence 
and the purity of their native laws. Unfortunately, the Maormor 
of Moray was unable to cope single-handed either with the Earl of 
Caithness and Orkney, or with the King of Scotia. In times of 
extremity he was obliged to ally himself with the one or the other, 
to help the Norsemen against the Scots, or the Scots against the 
Norsemen. The sea-kings with their swift vessels were at first his 
most dreaded antagonists. The kings of Scotia were more remote 
and had other affairs on hand ; but when they found opportunity, 
they were not slow in advancing sovereign claims and pushing their 
arms beyond the mountains. It was only after long resistance that 
these claims were made good by the superiority of the southerns 
in resources and armament. We shall see that Macbeth, the most 
famous Maormor of Moray, had no scruple in ally ing himself with the 
Norsemen, in order to get rid of King Duncan, and effect a partition 
of the kingdom. 

The first Norse leader who over-ran Moray was Thorstein the 
Ked (875), a son of the Norse king of Dublin. His power, how- 
ever, only lasted for a single year ; and the next successful invader 
was Sigurd, the first Earl of Orkney, who flourished towards the 
close of the same century. He over-ran Caithness, Sutherland, 
Ross, and Moray, and built a tower at a spot which is conjectured 
to have been Burghead. His chief antagonist was Maelbrigda the 
Toothed, Maormor of Moray. Both came to an untimely end. 
They had agreed to meet in conference, each with a guard of forty 
men, but Sigurd, professing to be afraid of treachery, mounted 
eighty men on forty horses. Maelbrigda advancing to meet him 
detected the deception, and at once resolved to fight, exclaiming 
" let us be brave and kill each his man before we die." At Sigurd's 
command half his men dismounted to attack the enemy in rear ; 
and the Celtic chief and all his party being overpowered by numbers 
were slain. Sigurd and his followers fastened the heads of their 
victims to their saddle straps and rode away in triumph. But the 
feature which had given Mselbrigda his designation was the means 
of retribution. In kicking at his horse, Sigurd scratched his leg 
with the protruding tooth, and the wound proved fatal. The body 

70 Gaelic Society of Inverness- 

of the Earl was buried in a mound at a place called Ekkialsbakki, 
the site of which is uncertain. B.ikki meaning bank, Mr. Ander- 
son indentih'es the name with the river Oykell (" Bank of the 
Oykell") which divides the counties of Eoss and Sutherland, and 
falls into the Dornoch Firth. The exact spot he considers to be 
Cyderhall, a name which is a corruption of Siddera, that in its turn 
being a contraction for Siwardhoch, the designation given to the 
place in a deed of the thirteenth cenlury.x Mr. Skene takes a 
different view. From an examination of the narrative he arrives at 
the conclusion that the meeting between Sigurd and Majlbrigda 
must have taken place near the southern boundary of Moray. He 
is also of opinion that the tight occurred in the neighbourhood of 
Forres, and that the remarkable sculptured stone near that town is 
a record of it. The stone appears to tell the tale which has just 
been narrated. Among the representations upon it is a leader with 
a head hanging at his girdle, followed by three trumpeters sounding 
for victory, and surrounded by decapitated bodies and human heads. 
Mr. Skene believes Ekkialsbakki to mean the banks of the Find- 
horn. When digging into a mound close to the Forres pillar, in 
1813, eight human skeletons were found, and in 1827 there was dug 
out of a steep bank above the river a coffin of large dimensions, 
composed of flagstones, containing the remains of a human skeleton. 
Whatever supremacy Sigurd may have established, it does not 
seem to have survived his death. The native chiefs of Moray re- 
sumed their independence, although they still, no doubt, had con- 
flicts to sustain with the great and aggressive northern power. The 
southern monarchy was also ambitious of extending its sway. It 
is recorded that Malcolm [942-954] made the first attempt to push 
the power of the kings of Scotia beyond the Spey. He invaded the 
province of Moray and slew its ruler, Cellach, but does not appear 
to have made a conquest. A little later the Scottish kings extended 
claims to Caithness, but their dominion there was at first even more 
shadowy than in Moray. Such pretensions are natural to an aspir- 
ing central monarchy, and in the end generally come to be realised. 
Caithness and Orkney were not always under the same earl. After 
a temporary separation they were re-united by the marriage of 
Thorfinn, the skull-cleaver, with the daughter of Duncan, jarl of 
Caithness. A series of quarrels occurred among their sons, which 
are only notable in so far as that one of the claimants received the 
support of Magbiodr, Maormor of Moray, and the Kino; of Scotia. 
Their assistance, however, was unavailing. The brother in posses- 
sion triumphed; and soon afteiwards his nephew, a second Sigurd, 
who entered on? the earldom about the year 980, re-established the 

The Celtic Province of Moray. 7 1 

supremacy of the Norsemen over the north of Scotland and the 
western islands. The conquest, of course, was not accomplished 
without a severe struggle. Finlay, another Maormor of Moray, 
brother to Magbiodr, collected a large force and entered Caithness. 
At first Sigurd was unable to cope with him. There were seven 
Scotsmen for one Norwegian odds which even the bold Scandi- 
navian rovers were unable to face. To gain assistance, Sigurd pro- 
pitiated the Orkney freeholders by restoring lands which they had 
resigned to his greatgrandfather; and with augmented forces, he 
attacked the Scots and completely defeated them. The mainland 
was now open for an advance ; and in a few years the authority of 
Sigurd was acknowledged from the Pentland to the Spey. The 
King of Scotland continued the struggle with great spirit, but in 
the end the rivals came to terms and formed an alliance. The 
friendship was cemented by the marriage of the Norse chief with a 
daughter of Malcolm II. Sigurd, born a heathen, was converted 
to Christianity by a peculiar process. Olaf Tryggveson, the first 
Christian King of Norway, returning from an expedition in 997, 
seized the Earl as he lay under the island of Hoy with a single 
ship. Being offered the choice of baptism or death, Sigurd chose 
to declare himself a convert, and became nominally a subject of King 
Olaf. Yet seventeen years afterwards, at the battle of Clontarff, in 
Ireland, we find him fighting in the ranks of the heathen, and piling 
the field with Christian dead. In the heat of the contest Sigurd 
was cut down by the Irish champion, Murcadh, and his fall was the 
signal for the flight of the Norwegians. 

We now approach a period of peculiar interest in the history of 
Moray. On the death of Sigurd, the province resumed its old posi- 
tion, and its Maormor, Finlay, is described in the Ulster annals 
under a kingly title, indicating that he claimed to be independent 
of both his neighbours. In 1020 he was slain by his nephews ; 
but he was succeeded in his semi-sovereignty by his son Macbeth, 
whose name has obtained such singular prominence in history and 
dramatic literature. In 1034, King Malcolm of Scotland died, 
leaving two grandsons who were destined to be fierce opponents. 
Duncan, the heir to the throne, was the son of a princess married 
to Criuan, abbot of Dunkeld ; while Thorfinn, Earl of Caithness 
and Orkney, was the offspring of another daughter, married, as we 
have seen, to Earl Sigurd. Macbeth was in a difficult position, 
placed as he was between the two ambitious cousins. His own wife 
was connected with the Scottish royal house, being either the sister 
or the near kinswoman of a prince whom King Duncan's grand- 
father had slain. The presumption is that this unfortunate prince 

1*1 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

was, according to the custom of the times, a dangerous rival to the 
succession of Duncan. Thus Macbeth, through his wife, had a feud 
with the dynasty which circumstances might at any moment quicken 
into activity. 

Thorfinn, Earl of Caithness, was a man of energy and capacity, 
well-fitted to hold his own in those wild times. He was only five 
years old when his father died, and at fourteen he was, a leader of 
maritime expeditions, ready, as his bard said, " to defend his own 
land, or to ravage in another's." He is described as a man of very 
large stature, uncomely, sharp-featured, dark haired, sallow, and 
swarthy. Avaricious, harsh, cruel, and clever; greedy of wealth 
and renown ; bold and successful in war, and a great strategist 
such are the epithets in which his character and powers are summed 
up. Thorfinn had three half-brothers older than himself, among 
whom the Orkneys were divided, while he received the Earldom of 
Caithness. The death of two of his brothers, and an alliance with 
the third, put him in possession of the islands, and thus he became 
a great chief like his father Sigurd. His cousin Duncan, suspicious 
of his growing power, wished to dispossess him of Caithness, or at 
least to lay it under tribute. Earl Thorfinn refused to part with 
any of his rights, and so war broke out. Duncan nominated a 
nephew of his own, named Moddan, to be Earl of Caithness, and 
sent him down to collect forces in Sutherland. This seems to have 
been the beginning of the conflict in which King Duncan was to 
lose kingdom and life. 

In such a struggle it was important to secure the assistance of 
the great Maormor of Moray. We may believe that Macbeth aided 
Duncan from the outset. The Norsemen were the nearest and most 
bitter foes of the Moravian Celts. In former times they had once 
and again overrun the province, and Macbeth, like King Duncan, 
must have viewed the increasing power of Thorfinn with great dis- 
trust. If Duncan claimed his service as a tributary chief, Macbeth 
probably waived such questions for the present, in order to deal 
with his dangerous enemy in Caithness. But whatever the actual 
circumstances were, we see no reason to doubt that the Maormor of 
Moray was an ally of the king, and thus by his subsequent conduct 
laid himself open to the charge of treachery, which has ever been 
associated with his name. Without having a base of operations on 
the south side of the Moray Firth, King Duncan could scarcely 
have carried on the war in the far north. The precise relation of 
Sutherland to the northern rivals seems uncertain. Very probably 
the people of that district detested Norse rule, so that it was easy 
for Moddan to obtain support among them. 

The Ce/tic Province of Moray. 73 

Thorfinn possessed a valuable coadjutor in Thorkel Fostri, who 
is described as the most accomplished man in all the Orkneys. He 
was bold and capable ; be had spoken up for the freeholders against 
the tyranny of a former Earl, and Mfelng compelled to flee, he took 
up his residence in Caithness, and became foster-father to Thorfinn, 
who was then young. It was mainly through this man's influence 
that Thorfinn gradually extended his authority over the Orkneys. 
When the dispute occurred between the Earl and his royal cousin, 
Thorkel raised a strong force in the Orkney islands, and crossed to 
the mainland, and Duncan's vassal, Moddan, found himself obliged 
to retire. The Norse army carried its victorious arms through 
Sutherland and Ross, and returned with great plunder to Duncans- 
bay. The Scottish King determined on a more formidable attack. 
Moddan was again despatched with troops to Caithness, while the 
King with a fleet of eleven vessels sailed northwards along the 
coast. Thorfinn had only five warships, but he gave battle in the 
Pentland Filth, and inflicted a severe defeat upon, his opponent. 
Thorfinn is depicted, of course by friendly chroniclers, as taking an 
active personal part in the fight, cheering on his men, and urging 
them to board the enemy's ships. He grappled with the royal 
vessel itself, and, shouting for his banner, rushed on board. King 
Duncan escaped by jumping into another boat, and hurrying off as 
fast as oars could carry him. The spirited description of the tight 
by Thorfinn's bard may be quoted : 

" Then the ships were lashed together 
Know ye how the men were falling ? 
All their swords and boards were swimming 
In the life-blood of the Scotsmen ; 
Hearts were sinking bowstrings screaming, 
Darts were flying spear shafts bending ; 
Swords were biting, blood flowed freely, 
And the Prince's heart was merry." 

King Duncan escaped to the coast of Moray, and hastened south 
to collect a fresh army. In the interval, the Xorse enjoyed rare op- 
portunities for plundering, and the ambitious Moddan the rival 
Earl of Caithness came to an untimely end. While the Norse- 
men were ravaging in Moray, they heard that Moddan had estab- 
lished himself with a large anny at Thurso, and was awaiting more 
troops from Ireland. The ever-ready Thorkel Fostri was equal to the 
occasion. He marched north secretly, we are told, and was befriended 
by the inhabitants of Caithness, who were true and faithful to him ; 
" and no news went of his journey," says the story, " till he came 

74 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

to Thurso by night, and surprised Earl Moddan in a house, 
which they set on tire. Moddan was asleep in an upper storey, 
and jumped out ; but as he jumped down from the stair, Thorkel 
hewed at him with a sword, and it hit him on the neck, and took 
off his head. After this his men surrendered, but some escaped 
by flight. Many were slain, but some received quarter." After 
this feat, Thorkel rejoined his chief with all the men he could collect 
in Sutherland, Caithness, and Ross. 

Meantime King Duncan hurried north with a powerful army, 
collected from all parts of Scotland, and including the forces which 
Earl Moddan had expected from Ireland. Mr. Skene conjectures 
that Macbeth now tilled the place which Moddan had formerly 
occupied as leader of the King's army. The battle took place at a 
spot called Torfnes, which Mr. Anderson supposes to be Tarbetness, 
but which Mr. Skene believes to be Burghead. " The Scots," to 
quote the Saga once more, " were by f,ir the most numerous. Earl 
Thorfinn was among the foremost of his men ; he had a gold-plated 
helmet on his head, a sword at his belt, and a spear in his hand, 
and he cut and thrust with both hands. It is even said that he 
was foremost of all his men. He first attacked the Irish division, 
and so fierce were he and his men, that the Irish were immediately 
routed, and never regained their position. Then King Kali* had 
his standard brought forward against Earl Thorfinn, and there was 
the fiercest struggle for a while ; but it ended in the flight of the 
king, and some say he was slain." It is added that Thorfinn 
conquered as far as Fife ; and he became so enraged at a threatened 
insurrection, that he harried the country, leaving scarcely a hut 
standing. In the words of the Norse bard, " the flames devoured 
the homesteads," and the Scottish kingdom meaning, we suppose, 
the eastern Lowlands " was reduced to smoking ashes." " After 
this," adds our authority, " Thorfinn went through Scotland to the 
north until he reached his ships, and subdued the country where- 
ever he went, and did not stop till he came to Caithness, where 
he spent the winter ; but every season after that he went out on 
expeditions, and plundered in the summer time with all his men." 

Two observations may be made at this point ; one that Macbeth 
is not mentioned in the Saga, and the other that King Duncan is 
not designated by his historical name, but is spoken of as King 
Kali Hunclason, the son of the hound. Mr. Anderson, therefore, 
does not absolutely identify Kali with Duncan, although he ac- 
knowledges the probability that they were one and the same. Mr. 

* This is the name given to Duncan in the Saga. 

The Celtic Province of Moray. 75 

Skene, however, expresses little doubt on the point ; and unless 
the annalists are entirely wrong in their dates, there seems in reality 
no doubt possible. At the time when, according to the Saga, this 
war occurred, Duncan was unquestionably king of Scotland. All 
the other known circumstances lead to the same conclusion. The 
i'act that Macbeth is not mentioned in the Saga is of no impor- 
tance, for the Norse chroniclers were not likely to pay any attention 
to him or his doings. 

The question now arises, What part did Macbeth really act at 
the crisis of the war ? That he joined Thorfinn is obvious, for 
he afterwards reigned peacefully over a large portion of Scotland, 
owing, as is believed, to his alliance with the Norse power. But 
when or how did he desert Duncan 1 Of course we are here in the 
region of conjecture ; but the story we have been following is not 
inconsistent with other narratives, and we must just interpret the 
circumstances to the best of our ability. A contemporary chronicler 
states that Duncan was slain in 1040 by his general, Macbeth. It 
is probable that, seeing the cause of the King ruined, the Maormor 
of Moray determined to forsake his standard and ally himself with 
his successful rival. He knew the strength and the ruthlessness of 
the Norsemen from the experience of his predecessors ; and though 
he could doubtless have found safety amidst the mountain fastnesses 
of the interior, he would naturally have been reluctant to become a 
defeated and broken-down fugitive. He was also an ambitious man ; 
and revolving all the chances and difficulties of the situation, he 
may well have resolved to sacrifice the Scottish sovereign to his 
own desires or necessities. If he wanted to make his peace with 
Thorfinn, what more acceptable gift could he bring than the head 
of King Duncan 1 Besides, as we have seen, the southern king- 
dom had been pressing its own claims over Morayland. Macbeth 
had no wish to be subordinate to the King of Scotia. He held 
that he was himself an independent prince ; and here was a good 
opportunity once for all to destroy Scottish pretensions, or perhaps, 
if Thorfinn was favourable, to seize upon the Scottish throne. His 
wife, desirous to avenge her kinsman, doubtless encouraged such 
projects. Thus influenced, it is reasonable to suppose that Macbeth 
slew Duncan after the battle, and threw in his lot with Thorfinn. 
Their combined forces ravaged the country east and south, and a 
partition of the kingdom appears to have followed. The rule of 
Thorfinn was acknowledged throughout the district north of the 
Grampians, while Macbeth ruled over the central territory. Mr. 
Skene thinks that Cumbria and Lothian remained faithful to the 
children of Duncan. 

7G Gaelic Socieiy of Inverness. 

It is useless to discuss the question where King Duncan was 
slain. It is certain that he was not assassinated in the present 
Cawdor Castle, for that building was not in existence until 400 
years after his death. He may have been killed in Macbeth's rath 
or stronghold at Inverness, but this is mere conjecture. The older 
authorities state that he was murdered near Elgin, at Bothgof uane or 
Bothgowan, which is said to be Gaelic for a blacksmith's hut. If 
the decisive battle took place at Burghead, there is nothing improb- 
able in believing that he was killed in a wayside hut, while fleeing 
from the victorious Norsemen. 

The reign of Macbeth extended to seventeen years, and was 
comparatively peaceful and prosperous. The power of Thorfinn 
helped to render his throne secure ; but something must also have 
been due to the Conservative elements still existing in the Scottish 
kingdom. The innovations which had been previously introduced 
could not have failed to create a certain measure of discontent. 
The old Pictish law of succession through the female line had been 
abandoned ; the law of Tanistry had next been undermined by 
Teutonic influences ; and to the southern Celts it may have been 
satisfactory to obtain a Gaelic king like Macbeth, especially as he 
was connected by his wife with their own royal family. Macbeth 
was in reality the last truly Celtic king of Scotland. By the oldest 
writers he is represented as a liberal and popular sovereign. He 
and his queen twice gave grants of land to the Culdees of Loch- 
Leven, and Macbeth and Thorfinn appear to have visited Kome in 
1050, where the Scottish king freely distributed silver to the poor. 
Several attempts were made to dethrone him, but until 1057 with- 
out success. In that year Malcolm Canmore, advancing from Nor- 
thumberland, attacked him with a powerful force. Macbeth was 
driven across the Mounth, and slain at Lumphanan in Marr, where 
there is still a large cairn known as Cairnbeth. The causes of 
Malcolm's success are uncertain. The only conjecture Mr. Skene 
can offer is that the warlike Thorfinn was dead and the Norse power 
in decay. 

The events that followed Macbeth's death were shortly narrated 
by the essayist. By his victory in 1187, William the Lion 
strengthened the central authority ; and the castles which he built 
at Eedcastle and Dunscath (on the north side of the Cromarty Firth) 
overawed the spirit of the north-eastern Celts. Disturbances oc- 
curred often enough in subsequent times ; but, on the whole, after 
his day the power of the Scottish throne was generally acknow- 
ledged in Morayland. 

The Cosmos of the A nclent Gaels. 77 

12TH MARCH, 1879. 

The paper before the meeting on this date was by Mr. Donald 
Koss, M.A., H.M. Inspector of Schools, on 



In attempting to gather up the loose threads of my former 
paper, I wish to re-assert with increasing emphasis the preliminary 
proposition which forms the necessary introduction to a full under- 
standing of the problem under discussion, and my individual stand- 
point in reference to it. My purpose was, and now is, in the first 
place, to open up from the region of modern criticism an avenue to 
the broader and fuller, and at the same time more accurate con- 
sideration of the literary heritage of the Gaelic race ; and, secondly, 
to show how much this country owes to the general but indefinite 
Celtic elements that run through its social economics and political 

The subject is a difficult one, and I present the results of some- 
what wide research in a wide field with much diffidence. But the 
conditions of this fiercely sceptical, hard, and unmerciful age in 
which we live, are eminently favourable to a fresh consideration, 
from a new standpoint, of a subject around which loose thought and 
unsifted literature have grown. We know how an age like this, 
with a keen sense for facts, for objective realities, and extracted 
truths, contains a hopeful basis of enlarged systems, both within its 
own narrow compass and outside of its contents, in the purer and 
more generous spirit which, in opposing, supports it. The spirit 
of our age may be microscopic, but it is also -hopefully keen within 
its own range, and if its vision is directed to what is near and 
palpable, it is only to explain the remote and indefinite. Thus we 
see, in such works as those of Mr. Skene, for example, a return 
to facts and truth, just as we see along the whole line of history the 
severance of actuality from the pleasing parasites which a luxuriant 
fancy has reared. With its strictness and honesty of research, its 
closeness of observation, and rigid reverence for historical canons, 
no former age has at all approached ours in its faculty for studying 
the widest thought in the most meagre facts, and in its tendency 

* For Part I., vide VoL VI., pacje 120. 

78 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

to reflect the most ultimate truths in the least general propositions, 
through methods peculiarly modern. Hence its aim, perhaps 
its highest conscious aim, is to transplant its philosophy from the 
region of indefinite intuition and introspective analysis, to that of 
history and research amongst the concrete objects of the material 
world. But, whilst this is so, the need is ever the same, if not 
greater than ever, to keep the reverse of the process in view how 
fact vanishes in the light of theory, and how its only solution is in 
a meaning beyond it ; and to note that if the direct result of 
reverence for facts is a change in the whole aspect of philosophy, 
the change after all is only a fresh reading, in a new light, of the 
old, old, eternally recurring problem. 

I have pointed out how, in the new and harder conditions, one 
sharing to some extent the spirit of modern culture and criticism, 
and therefore, in some slight measure, the heir of all the ages, has 
some fresh aptitude to examine the nature and value of the Gaelic 
literary heritage, provided also he has a competent mastery over its 
contents. Truth is supreme, and shall prevail. It matters not, 
therefore, if the increasing results of my enquiry prove staggering 
to my own sympathies, and out of accord with the verdict of my 
predecessors in the same field. 

I have also drawn attention, though briefly, to the gradual and 
silent, but still remarkable change of criticism regarding the rank 
and value, as a factor in civilization, of the Celtic elements in these 
Isles, and especially regarding the energy of the Gaelic race since it 
has got a fair trial to show its better qualities in character and 
conduct. The fact gets wider and wider acknowledgment from 
more competent authorities, that modern Scotland derives its recent 
greatness from Gaelic sources, and that the Gael in becoming a 
Teuton in name and appearance, does not sink the better qualities 
of his nature in sinking his nationality. As we see how fairly 
Matthew Arnold gathers up some of the best of contemporary 
thought, when he recommends us to cure our national diseases by 
introducing more Celtic virtue, and by profiting by the example of 
the gens elite of France, we recur to the dark pictures of books of 
travel in Scotland and kindred literature of last century to the 
days when between the mental moods of the Gaelic people and the 
outer characteristics by which the self-complacent Teuton revealed 
the workings of his deeper life, a strong barrier was raised by the 
latter in his own favour, when in the pride of that self-complacency 
he treated his northern neighbours in the high-handed manner 
in which the Greek, in ages when the gospel of brotherhood was 
unpreached, despised the menial barbarians with whom he refused 

The Cosmos of ihe A ncient Gaels. 79 

to share his culture ; or after the fashion in which the Jew isolated 
himself in the pride of his traditions from the impure contact of the 
Gentile world. 

In books of travel, in criticism, in general literature of the end 
of lasb century and the beginning of this one, this is how 
the Celtic heritage was described by English, German, and the 
whole tribe of Tudesqua writers : The Celt is an impediment, 
vanishing before civilization like the Eed Indian in his prairie. 
From the dawn of history, the Celtic races have been centuries in 
the rear, hugging crass creeds after more enlightened people 
had abandoned them, and solacing themselves with incoherent 
superstitions, which sturdier nations regarded as the exuvice of 
current beliefs. Even the best articles of their theology are simply 
disjointed fragments, charged abundantly with myths and shrouded 
in mysteries. Like all weak or negative races, they have always 
betaken themselves to riddles, ambiguous prophecy, transparent 
pretence, and the gift of second sight ; but whilst, in juggler fashion, 
they profess to see through what surrounds their visible universe, 
they have no insight into the simplest impulses of their own being ; 
and what they do decipher vaguely is not Nature's meaning through 
what lies over her, hut her feeblest symbol distorted through the 
troubled concrete of un worded imagination. They never valued the 
power of silence ; they never knew the energy of calm reserve. 
They may have had some graces to dazzle an unthinking enthusiast ; 
incoherent eloquence ; impulsive ardour ; showy, but disintegrating 
love ; a volcanic tendency to revolt ; but they have been visionaries 
dead to the laws of fact, frantic seers, pretentious bards, with little 
faculty for the objectively real, and less for the subjectively true ; 
and when not dreamers, they have been scourges in lands which 
they failed to conquer or till. With singular inaptitude for facts, 
and for the discipline of large organizations, the best, the most law- 
abiding of them, have seldom got beyond a melancholy wail, except 
when passion, the attribute of animal nature, has driven them into 
fits of revenge. The very brilliancy of the race has been nickering ; 
and to their own meagre hopes they have not been loyal. Till they 
hecome sober-minded, steady of purpose, practical, and endowed 
with a moderate share of the persistence which routine creates, they 
can have no kindred with the friends of progress or social reform. 
But, as they fail to see the line between the uncertain world within 
and the solid world without, their facts are encrusted all over with 
fancies, their histories elude the recognized canons of research, their 
language is a fitting article for savage imagery, and crude conglom- 
erate thinking ; their philosophies are audacious myths or shreds 

80 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

of savage survivals, and their much vaunted poetry is stolen or 
appropriated from more fertile fields whenever it happens to rise 
above the dignity of scurrilous twaddle, or to extend beyond the 
borders of the rude elemental lyric. 

No doubt this appears to contain a fierce indictment against the 
Celts. No doubt, also, a certain egotistical class of Celts, ever 
ready to thrust themselves before public notice as representa- 
tives of a noble race, which they do their utmost to disgrace, merit 
this charge. That ignorant type of Highlander, for example who 
sees no manly virtue except beneath the kilt, which in his want of 
knowledge he calls the national garb who hears no sweet sound 
except that of the bagpipes, which he calls our national instrument, 
and who finds no poetry except in Gaelic, which lie regards as the 
national language whilst making himself the laughing-stock of the 
stranger, never fails to proclaim himself also as the apostle of cul- 
ture, and as the typical, if not the best, specimen of the Gaelic 
people. He is altogether ignorant of the merest elements of his 
ancestral history ; he preaches manliness, and toadies to the 
nearest lord, or pins himself to the outskirts of the nearest repu- 
tation. His function is to ignore facts, and to over-rule the 
laws of social polity and natural sequence. He calls himself a re- 
former ; and he advocates a return to the ways of our fathers to 
the kilt, to the bagpipes, to Gaelic all which he loudly asserts to 
possess high national antiquity as well as high national virtues. 
When he thrusts his little personality into print, and heralds forth 
his miserable creed, every Celtic savant in Europe knows that the 
kilt is neither ancient nor Gaelic ; that the bagpipe is Sclavonic, 
and not the national instrument of the Gaelic people, and that 
Gaelic itself is a very modern and very composite dialect of a very 
old family of languages. 

This type of Celt, however, very fortunately obtains but little 
hearing. He is estimated generally at his value, as we all are, and 
the character of the Celtic race is examined without his aid, and in 
the full knowledge that he is both an accident and a nuisance. The 
change of criticism is in consequence of this great and just. In look- 
ing round and round our Gaelic literary heritage, our national in- 
stitutions, and the criticism of non-Gaelic races on their rivals, I 
gradually got a clearer idea than I ever had before of the source of 
much of what is best and purest, and most hopeful in our social 
economies. The heritage is both small and singular. It is partly 
as yet hovering over the isles and valleys of the west, and we have 
good specimens, probably the best specimens of it, in such works as 
Leabhar na Feinne and West Highland Tales of Mr. Campbell, 

The Cosmos of the A ncient Gaels. 81 

the Sean Dana of Dr. Smith, and the mass of broken literature 
out of which M'Pherson constructed his Ossian. What is the 
meaning of all that national literature ? In going in quest of that 
meaning, my guiding prc-supposition was that of law in the develop- 
ment and conservation of the smallest as well as greatest fragment. 
I recognised the great, but obscured fact, that the world moves within 
the grasp of iron necessity, and that chance, a mere name by which 
we conceal our ignorance of natural processes, does not enter into 
the rise of folk-lore, into the traditional tales of a conservative race, 
into their poetry, or even into their rudest lyric or narrowest pro- 
verb. The operation of law, definite and supreme, is no doubt a 
relation, and with the same care with which we trace it in the 
province of chemistry, and in the process of crystallization, it could 
be traced in the grotesque commonplaces of Fingalian and kindred 
literature, provided only we could look far enough backwards and 
outwards into the series of conditioning elements under which they 
have assumed their present shape. This literature has drawn its 
strange meaning from early ages and through many forms, but cause 
and effect enters into its composition as into all besides, and it is as 
pliant to general principles and far-reaching laws as a literature of 
apparent coherence and orderliness. 

One, and that a well known, illustration of this may here be 
cited. Nothing ought to be more familiar to any student of 
language than the vast changes that are silently going on, and 
always have been going on in every language spoken and written. 
Should a Highlander of the fourteenth century rise from his grave 
and address the Gaelic Society of Inverness in the purest Gaelic of 
his time, probably the most enthusiastic member of that learned 
body would have the utmost difficulty in understanding his speech ; 
but should a Highlander of the fourth century hold forth before 
the same audience, it is most certain that not one member, not 
even the greatest advocate of the theory of the remote antiquity 
of Gaelic, could understand one word of what he might say. 
Comparative philology has made such rapid progress in our own 
day, such increasing light is being shed on the growth of lan- 
guage, and such a mass of clearly ascertained linguistic facts and 
principles lies before us, that even the most irreverent of critics 
are somewhat chary in making sport of philologists or antiquarians. 
Of the extinct language, spoken at Inverness and Swansea probably 
before either Gaelic or Welsh came into being, only a few words 
such as Cartit, Diuper, Peanfahel, Scolofth, and Ur are known to us 
now in their original form ; yet even such a competent, I might 
almost add such a sceptical, scholar as Mr Skene, proceeding upon 


82 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

dialectic considerations and the ascertained laws of transmutation 
within the Celtic languages, not only indicates generally how frag- 
ments of the lost Pictish may be restored, but actually reconstructs 
a small section (the Four Ancient Books of Wales, vol. I.) 

And what is possible in philology is equally possible in the 
more intricate sphere of thought The results that I have arrived 
at are somewhat staggering. I leave entirely out of view the 
published poetry from the age of the redoubtable Iain Lorn and the 
fiery Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair downwards, with only one 
remark. The beautiful translations given of these by Professor 
Blackie have, in most cases, no perceptible relation with the 
original. They are, in fact, as nearly as possible, original poemlets, 
strongly marked with the grace and vivacity of the author of the 
Language and Literature of the Scottish Highlands, rather than 
translations of the fragments in M'Kenzie. Leaving, however, 
modern Gaelic Literature aside, I find the existing literature of the 
Highlands both meagre in amount and of a certain unmistakeable 
quality. Language and thought go hand in hand; the one is the 
best index of the other. If the former be elastic and copious, the 
latter cannot be meagre and crude. And in determining the value 
of either, we must confine ourselves to the existing facts, and we 
must endeavour to understand what these facts mean. Moreover, 
we must cast aside all the claims of feeling, and all patriotic senti- 
ment before venturing to give any opinion on the merits of a 
question which perhaps invokes an excess of sentiment, and conse- 
quently of partiality. There is a class of Gaelic eulogists for whom 
I have no respect, for they deserve none. The class is, unfortu- 
nately, a wide one. It includes hundreds who leave their proper 
patronymic in the Highlands, and enter life under the wretched 
veil of some Lowland equivalent. It includes scores of clergy- 
men and others who would thrust a purely Gaelic education on the 
peasantry, and who eject, so far as they can, the old tongue from 
their own firesides ; it includes the orators who generally wind up 
an inflated eulogium in Gaelic with the ridiculous admission, uttered 
in a pompous tone of self-complacency, that they are altogether ig- 
norant of the language ; it includes writers who advocate Gaelic as 
the highest medium of intellectual and spiritual life, and yet who 
are utterly unable to translate a Gaelic sentence into passable 
English, or to speak or understand the language of the Highlands ; 
and it includes those who, though perhaps good Gaelic scholars, are 
unable to read Latin, Greek, German, French, Italian, but in the face 
of that defect, proclaim loudly the superiority of Gaelic, with its 
small literature, to the vast literary scope of these great languages. 

The Cosmos of ihe A ncient Gaels. 83 

Whatever has been, or may yet be said of the wide range of Gaelic, 
of its structural complexity and high antiquity, of its remarkable 
capacity for narrative and descriptive purposes, of its high adapta- 
tion for didactic and lyric poetry, the stubborn fact, probably un- 
heeded by the prejudiced and the credulous, meets every competent 
student of its history and thought, that its existing literary contents 
do not support these high claims. It is a singular fact that, when- 
ever the evidence is of a more or less negative character, almost all 
races claim for their own language an indefinite antiquity. The 
Welshman , quite as unblushingly as the most enthusiastic Gael, 
asserts that Adam proposed to Eve in his own mother tongue ; the 
Provencal peasant, whom I met to-day, is proud of his national 
poetry, and in the matter of national boasting puts any Welshman 
into the shade ; and the sluggish native of Servia outdoes the na- 
tive of Provence in this faculty of exaggeration. Such partial and 
such biased evidence, however, must be cast aside. After a careful 
scrutiny of all Gaelic fragments upon which. I could lay my hands, 
I am convinced that the history, poetry, and shreds of philosophy 
wrapt up in Gaelic, represent a lower stage of development, and a 
lower level of thinking and conduct than those of Greece in the 
age of Hesiod, of Eome in the time of Ennius, of France in the 
Kolandic epoch, or of Germany in that of the Nibelungen. This un- 
doubtedly indicates a remote antiquity, and many changes. Nemo 
repente fuit turpissimus. No more does a race become suddenly 
enlightened. The Gaelic people, therefore, have always been in ad- 
vance of their literature. It is a race of great energy and vitality, 
possessing all the elements of rapid advance. But he is a poor type 
of a patriot, as well as an incompetent critic, who rests the moral 
character of the race either on the antiquity of their language or its 
literature. No other race can be produced out of the whole roll of 
history with such capacity for progress allied to so meagre a 

The Gaelic language, as we now find it, can be proved to be of 
very modern origin. It is highly composite. It contains a large 
Latin element, introduced undoubtedly during the middle ages 
through the agency of the Latin Church ; a large section of it is of 
French origin, and this also is comparatively modern. The roving 
Norsemen, who so frequently visited our shores, left their impress, 
not only on the literature, but also on the topography of the country, 
markedly in Islay, Mull, and Skye. All the Dalruadic ecoriomy, 
as well as the Culdee Church, with its tribal organization, was an 
offshoot of Irish civilization ; and Celtic archaeology has not yet 
given a decisive verdict regarding the basis of the race. When the 

84 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

verdict is given, it will probably be that Scotland was Teutonic long 
before it became Gaelic ; in other words, that the Gaels were in- 
vaders and conquerors of our soil. Many facts, which would only 
enlarge this paper with wearisome details, might be given in sup- 
port of this view. And the conclusion is that the Highlanders are 
not exclusively Celtic ; not Celtic in their deepest fibre perhaps, 
but that they are very composite, and combine many of the qualities 
of the two great races the Celtic and the Teutonic that dispute 
the possession of the north-Avest and middle of Europe. 

In so far as the moral qualities of the Gaelic people are con- 
cerned, the question of the basis of the race may be passed over in 
favour of that of the influence of circumstances upon their being. 
The lourd Pomeranian derives his moral qualities from the dull slug- 
gishness of his native flats and native swamps, and grows up obese 
and unimpassioned. So also the Gael, veritable son of mist and 
flood, starts out of conditions which create quickness, verve, and 
energy, along with a certain pliability of moral purpose. Often in 
a state of tension, he has been roughened'as well as quickened by 
his lot. At times he has been treacherous ; at times cruel. Often 
he has been given to penitence and tears, and often to the pathos 
of bravado. The Saxon faces the inevitable calmly and without a 
grumble, as when the peasant of Brandenburgh, feeling the hand of 
death upon him, hurries to purchase his own coffin, and carries it 
home on his shoulder ; the Frenchman gesticulates before it in the 
agony of expectation ; the Irishman, standing in its presence, in- 
fuses a jet of humonr into his ravings ; and the West Highland 
Gael throws a halo around it by allowing his imagination to encom- 
pass in its broodings the ideals of suffering and death. Whoever 
knows the social state of the West coast of Scotland, knows also how 
truly the impetuous sorrows of Flory Cameron at her son's grave in 
Morven, and the heart-rending anguish, of the emigrants in Tober- 
mory Bay, represent the highly susceptible organization of the 
people. What is great in the Saxon, and defective in the Celt, is 
the inertia of unconscious habit ; what is noteworthy in the Celt is 
the energy of transitory consciousness and transitory will. Thus 
the moral code of the one, inasmuch as it is more the concretion of 
underlying unconscious forces, is more steady and reliable than that 
of the other, which, if spasmodically altruistic, is also fitful. The 
Celt is individualistic, and somewhat capricious ; but he is emi- 
nently the source of revolution, progress, ideality. What in the 
Saxon is mere ennui, or pure discomfort, has its parallel in the 
Gaelic organization in the hysteric pangs of sorrow. But since he 
who feels most keenly is also capable of the wildest elation, the 

The Cosmos of the A ncient Gaels. 85 

Gael, when not pressed down by the force of sad presentiments and 
the luxuries of repentance, is the most exuberant of mortals, and the 
most fantastic in his revels. Watch his hilarity in his cups, as I 
have often done on many a wet evening in many a wet glen, and 
you will be surprised at the rapidity with which he passes under 
the spell of his fiery native liqueur from the extremes of depression 
to those of boisterous mirth, and thence to the maudlin morality 
and pathos of the tumbler. Such a being may justly be described 
as fitful, vehement, the author of a gloomy literature, across whose 
surface some glimpses of sunshine pass rapidly. The 'Celt looked 
at the flux, the Saxon more at the stability of nature ; and hence, 
when the latter is content to go on his course with unquestioning 
faith, the former looked fitfully into the dark vacuum of the future, 
and peopling it with his troubled phantasmagoria, his faith was flick- 
ering, variable, and often pointing, now in the solace of hope, now 
in despair, to the solemnities of the unseen world. 

As we recede from the standpoint of the present, and from the 
familiar moods of our thinking about it, the world becomes more 
and more unlike our own, and its image more confused and un- 
certain. The Cosmos of our ancestors was altogether unlike that 
which presses in upon each of us. But it was also unlike that 
which can be reconstructed out of the Icelandic Volsvnga Saga 
which contains undoubtedly old historic myths; it differs from 
that of the Eddas, the oldest monument perhaps of North-German 
literature ; and it is still more unlike the Greek idea as we have it 
in Homer, and, of course, in writings later than the age of Homer. 
An example will illustrate what I mean. The lower animals enter 
largely into the working-out of many of Mr. Campbell's Tales, 
as well as into the Greek Ba.Tpaxo/j.vo/j.axia, which is the product 
of a later period than the Homeric. But a great deal of 
humour, satire, and caricature is introduced in the miniature 
contests of the latter, and that humour is consciously introduced ; 
whereas in the Tales, the conversations between man and the lower 
animals, as well as the struggles between mental and brute force 
are given, I might say, unconsciously, as a matter of fact and 
history, worthy of credit, and not as a satire on current morality. 
A high authority in Greek criticism, Mr. Gladstone, has pointed 
out how in the Homeric poems the basis of the art is altogether 
objective ; and nearly all Greek poetical literature is a standing 
proof of the independence of the Greek mind of the Unseen and 
Eternal ; of how uniformly the Greek sought for types of beauty 
and proportion in the greater outer world of sense ; and of how 
little he made of sentiment and feeling, a fact which almost 

86 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

justifies a remark endorsed by Lord Beaconsfield, that the ten- 
dency of civilization is to suppress feeling. In the well known 
description of the shield of Achilles, given in the Iliad, the 
subjective, including all feeling, is overlooked. It was on ac- 
count of this suppression of feeling that Goethe, perhaps the 
most highly endowed of modern times, and of whom it has been 
said On riajamais vu chez un Jiotnme une telle perfection physique 
unie a une aiissi grande perfection intellect uelle, has singled out the 
Greeks as the healthiest type of moral greatness. lu the Iliad 
confidence is expressed in the sufficiency of human nature for the 
exigencies of its own trials, apart from all before it or above it. 
Not only different from this moral attribute, but at the opposite 
pole to it are the loftiest aspirations of the Gael, as shadowed forth 
in the Tales or in the fragmentary literature of Fingalianism, in 
which we see mind rushing from despair to overpowering super- 
naturalism. In one respect, however, the Tales approach the 
Greek in their similes and personification of the terrible and the 
grand ; in their mass of. symbolism traversing the flux of the sea, 
worthy to be placed on the same level as the Greek image of the 
ocean the tear of Neptune and in all that indicated how earnestly 
they strove to enter into the spirit of their boisterous surroundings. 
With their deep sensitiveness and strong anthropomorphic ten- 
dency, they found the world a partially intelligible symbol, or, as 
Ralph Emerson calls it, " The great shadow of oneself ; " they lived 
under the influence of a varied mixture of song and story, and drew 
upon the romance of the indefinite past in a realm of thought or 

" Where fancy entertains becoming guests, 
While native songs the heroic past recalls." 

As with the child, so with the savage ; as with the individual, 
so with the race : poetry precedes prose, and the earliest utterances 
strive after rhyme and measure. The day may come when by 
original sin the learned may mean animalism. But, however that 
may be, the fireside Highland literature affords a fresh proof of the 
intimate relation that existed between the human race and the 
lower animals in early times, and of how animal nature was in close 
alliance with that of very early races. The Tales reveal a people 
with many genuine poetical faculties, and with much sympathy for 
the wide range of animal life beneath them, as well as with many 
aspirations for more light, and an ardent desire to penetrate beyond 
the veil. That their substantive contents have come down from a 
period when man was really nearer to the other animals, I have 

The Gosmos of the Ancient Gaels. 87 

never doubted. I believe with equal firmness, that the language of 
birds, in common to all early myths, has a high significance to 
the student of ethnography. 

" Poetry," as defined by Bacon, " is feigned history," and my 
conclusion is that the wail and woes of fragmentary Gaelic poetry re- 
present a fact deeper than mere emotion or the deposit of sentiment. 
" Fionn never gave up trembling and woe from that day until the 
day of forever." Before we attribute this excess of sorrow to the 
predominance of superstition, it would be well to examine the rise 
of it. The boy in the deep-vaulted sombre glen, who quivers at the 
recollection of the dark histories, and darker legends of his clan, 
is by no means a coward by nature or mental structure ; but a sen- 
sitive plant, finely strung up by the impulses of his environment, 
and as susceptible to reverence as to fear. Though his quickening 
fancy may work up a wayside bush into the herald of nether torture, 
and though to the stranger he may appear in consequence as a pic- 
ture of abject terror, with will paralyzed and cold cramp clutching 
the life-strings of his heart, he is, beyond the scope of such a feeling, 
cool and brave, daring and full of high courage. The contents of 
his fiery imagination give him a singular experience, not unlike, 
perhaps, to the dread of the native of Chili or Central America, 
who staggers at the first symptoms of an earthquake, but who faces 
death with calmness and coolness. No doubt, also, familiarity with 
sorrow generates peculiar luxury. 'S taitneach learn aolbhneas a' 
bhroin expresses this, and moreover points to what results generally, 
as the Gaelic proverb puts it, in " valour and great deeds." It would 
be of deep interest had we the means to enter into an analysis of 
this complex feeling ; of these luxuries of grief, and the sadness 
which engloomed the end : 

" We shall vanish as a dream, 
And be missing in the field of heroes. 
The hunter shall not know our tomb, 
Nor shall our name be in the book of song." 

Death, in fact, was the gloomiest of all factors to these highly 
strung people, and here they were far removed from the African 
race. The calm fortitude with which the Homeric characters could 
contemplate the uncertain end, and the rapturous elysium which 
the Koran dangles before the ambition of the self-sacrificing sons of 
the Crescent, have no proper equivalent in Fingalian literature, 
in which, whilst the earthly life is pictured out as uncertain at its 
best and richest, frequently the prospective rewards of even valour 
and great deeds are doubtful. Death is still the great mystery, as 

88 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

it always was, and always shall be. "With our forefathers it 
" darkened round the mountain crag ; " the soul was called " by 
song to the land of the high clouds," or to the " rayless house of 
lasting gloom." The spirits of the dead " swim in the wind ; " 
" the great black shadow" is seen in his " mighty strides," or " is 
poured out " from the eyes, " gloomy and darker than the black 
raven." And the wail is heard through the glen as the mystery 
passes over it : 

" Few are the men who shed not tears ; 
Not few the women at lan's grave 
Pouring forth tears from day to day." 

It is a singular fact that all primitive literatures dwell upon 
shadow-land, and figure forth the philosophy of shade. Just as 
the blind love to think in colour, and just as the grandest figures 
in the later works of the blind Milton are those figured forth in the 
symbolism of the eye, " in darkness visible ; " so the old races found 
a peculiar fascination in brooding over shadows, and visible unre- 
alities. As I read through some of those old disjointed fragments, 
for the first time, association recalled an old Highlander, long since 
dead, a man of daring courage, lofty disregard of morals, and most 
emphatic irreverence, yet who quaked like an aspen leaf at the re- 
collection of an ill-omened phenomenon once observed by him on a 
Eoss-shire hill on a moon-lit morning. As he was ascending the 
mountain, to his infinite horror, he saw a double shadow of himself, 
which, as interpreted by the traditional wisdom of his glen, was 
prophetic of some doom either to himself or some one related to 
him. To have a double shadow was, in many places, almost as bad 
as to have no shadow at all. A night walk in one of our great 
cities would dispel the illusion ; but my irreverent countryman 
had never seen a great city or the glare of its myriad lamps. This 
Gaelic idea of shadow is no doubt connected with the typical 
misery of Peter Schlemihl, who having sold his shadow to the Evil 
One, walks henceforth through the world, weary and marked for 

I have tried elsewhere to show how the ancient Gael of the 
Tales, explained all malevolent action by multiplying analogues of 
his own being, and how 

" He cast upon the earth whereon he stood 
The formidable shadow of himself." 

In this reduplication, the supernaturalism, though anthropomor- 
phic in its origin, and often tragic in its result, was far different 

The Gosmos of the A nctent Gaels. 89 

from the artistic supernaturalism of Hamlet, Macbeth, or The 
Tempest, in which the mystery consists in the secret promptings of 
individual conscience, in the struggle between our rights and old 
laws, and the breaking of moral nature out of bounds. On the con- 
trary, the process in the Tales is always unconscious. The Gael, 
so far as we know, was not troubled by secret promptings within 
his moral nature, but with the troublesome intrusion of the inexpli- 
cable factor without. 

" Me premet nox fabulaeque manes 
Et domus exilis Plutonia" 

In his unconscious, or semi-conscious state, he expressed through 
the medium of his own homely symbols, the practical philosophy of 
Sartor Resartus. He felt vaguely, though he knew not how or 
why, that wherever he went, his own imagination was the enemy 
of his deeper self, as felt the wanderer, Teufelsdrock, who travelled, 
as we all must travel, far and near in quest of a remedy for a mind 
diseased, going into far-off jungles and the abode of doleful crea- 
tures for comfort to his wounded spirit, who fled from the fetid 
atmosphere of the crowded city to the calm repose of illusory 
solitude ; but yet who could never rid himself by any amount of 
wandering from his own shadow, from his second nature, from stern 
facts which could not be undone, and from memories which could 
not be destroyed. This shadow was behind him ; but of the future 
he could only say, with the Laureate, 

" I know that somewhere on the waste 
The shadow sits and waits for me." 

On this I make only one remark. I think I see in this shadow- 
land the type, after all, of permanent existence, and a link that joins 
the philosopher and the peasant. What the commonplace English- 
man expresses in his couplet : 

"In no place have I ever been, 
Yet ever where I may be seen," 

and what the Gaelic poetaster has more graphically described as : 
Tha tannas caol, a's faoin, as buan, is, though neither knows it not, 
the equivalent of the Hegelian type of permanent existence, that 
which is and that which is not ; something and yet nothing ; what 
derives its being from what is not ; that which is the absence of 
light and yet which stops it. 

The belief of the Celt in shadow-land is shared by many other 
races, such as tribes of Indians, who assert that whatever exists 
materially carries its immortality spiritually ; that everything that 

90 Gaelic Sociefy of Inverness. 

has a shadow has also a soul, which can enter into the happy hunting 
ground afar. Again, on the Gold Coast, the natives entertain the 
firmest belief in a strange shadow-land, to which the souls of the 
departed migrate ; and they leave vessels of water at the grave to 
enable their relatives in shadow-land to drink and live. 

The practical morality of every nation is largely influenced by 
the current views regarding the soul and its destinies. A highly 
educated and highly enlightened people may be thoroughly moral 
in all the relations of life without entertaining any belief in the 
immortality of the soul. The doctrine is not modern ; but amongst 
all early nations it differed widely from the form in which it is now 
received by most Christian churches. It does not appear that the 
immortality of the soul was an article of faith amongst the Jews 
until, at least, after the captivity ; and even after that date they 
had serious controversy regarding its nature. The punishment of 
the wicked through perpetual torments, and the unalloyed everlast- 
ing happiness of the just, are refinements of creed due to the 
subtle theology of the early Christian centuries. But there may be 
an indefinite belief in immortality without any faith in special re- 
wards and punishments. Plato enumerates throughout his writings 
no less than ten proofs of immortality ; but not one of these is con- 
clusively logical, or carries the conviction of a problem mathemati- 
cally certain or morally true. Amongst northern Germanic nations, 
as we know from one of the earliest Eddas, there was a belief in a 
Gimil, the abode of the blest, and a Nastrand, that of the evil. 
And that the Gaels had not only some phase of the doctrine of 
immortality as their creed, but also belief in special rewards for 
heroes cannot be doubted. In the Highlands, it is equally certain, 
the doctrine of immortality was connected with that of transmigra- 
tion. The mermaid, who has the beauty of woman, the treacherous 
wraith that vanishes suddenly into thin air, the protean being that 
assumes any form to effect his cruel purposes ; and all the mass of 
superstitions, in which precautions are taken lest the fairies abstract 
the departing soul and place it elsewhere, and in which one life is 
supposed to be restorable on the sacrifice of another life, are all 
relics to prove this conviction. A hazy belief is still current in the 
outer isles to the effect that the souls of the drowned enter into 
seals, &c., and thus pass into happiness. 

The bards, who could read the past and from its lessons shrewdly 
guess the future, at times seem to have claimed the right of issuing 
the passport to the land of bliss. Till they sang the funereal song, 
the spirits of the dead could not ascend to the hall of clouds, or sit 
on the throne of the ivinds, but were forced to hover in agony over 

The Cosmos of the A ncient Gaels. 91 

the chill vapour of the marsh. There is no proof that Druidism was 
introduced to this country by Phoenician traders, or that the Gaels 
got their ideas of soul and immortality from the Pythagoreans. These 
were of much more simple and much more commonplace origin. 
Eudimental ideas are alike amongst all races. The Celts of these 
Western isles probably derived their concrete idea of the soul as a 
special separate entity from the obtrusions of shadow-land, and their 
experience in dreams. Incapable of tracing physiological effects to 
their proper physical causes, and living often upon coarse food ob- 
tained at irregular intervals, they found a rough and ready explana- 
tion of the giants and monsters of their dreams in the supposition 
that these fleeting realities were spirits ; shadows that could vanish 
into the air. Whatever its origin as a separate entity, the soul had 
reference to a heaven and a hell a group of warm isles of the west, 
and a sort of cheerless purgatory. Dr. Rink assures us that the 
Esquimo define heaven as the place of perpetual blubber, and hell 
as one of frost and famine ; and that they believe in a supernatural 
being whose will is revealed only through the priests, and who 
governs all our destinies. From curious customs still preserved in 
remote isles and isolated glens, as well as from the debris of the 
Gaelic literature, we can understand the origin of a cheerless purga- 
lory, and how sun-worship arose. The race who lived in these 
circumstances, in looking up at the sun, found supreme divinity 
there, in the power which both awed and inspired the struggling 
spirit. There was 

" The Sovereign whence emanated universal light. 
Ah, Sun ! awful art thou in all thy strength." 

There is not much analysis traceable in these Tales. The Khurds 
of Orissa have a fourfold division of mind ; and most literatures have 
a triple division of it; but in Fingalianism it is generally figured forth 
under the image of vapoury mist, unsubstantial in eluding sense- 
perception, yet vital and the centre of all vitality ; impressible from 
without, sometimes projecting itself outwards and coming into 
alliance with the bodies of many marvellous creatures, much in the 
same way as the soul of Batrace is represented to have done in an 
Egyptian tale, known to be 3278 years old. As a sort of essential 
matter, which alone the ordinary mind can embrace, with form, 
therefore, and essential relation to space, a mysterious essence with 
spontaneity within itself, it is sometimes vaguely described as an 
existence distinct from self, taking refuge, grotesquely it seems to 
us, in oatcakes, peeping under door-sills, creeping under flagstones, 
sojourning in eggs, emigrating into geese and ducks, plunging into 

92 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

oceans and overcoming giants. It carried its habits of violence 
and strife along with it 

" When went two spirits on the wind, 
And fiercely struggle on the tossing waves, 
Far away the hunter hears 
The loud and lingering noise of warring ghosts." 

Not seldom do we find the soul passing rapidly from fishes to 
birds, and thence to quadrupeds. The Welsh Mdbinogion says, in 
this reference, " There is nothing in which I have not been." One 
thing at least is clear, both from the Welsh and Gaelic Tales, that 
the people who invented and preserved these rugged stories, and to 
whom this crumbled down poetry belonged, who fabricated aud 
dressed them, who dreamed over their recital, and who loved to 
reconstruct their imagery, had certainly more in common with the 
eagle and the fox, more sympathy with the lower part of creation, 
and more enduring interest in the purely animal part of life, than 
modern Highlanders have. If animals at first created fear, they 
next attracted sympathy. Perhaps the gulf has been widened by 
the vulgar outcry raised by anti-Darwinians against our kindness 
to the lower animals. But in any case, these Tales point to an age 
when thought was narrow and confined, when expression was feeble, 
except in one direction, when religious conceptions were both gross 
and meagre, when the personal self was not yet regarded as the 
functional factor, which alone our psychology recognizes, when 
the vast space which lies between the ego and the non-ego, was 
looked upon as an unbroken continuity kindred to both, and actually 
was a mass of phantasmagoria and diversified analogues of conscious 
experience, when man, looking upon himself with a mixture of 
despair and wonder, could not, even if he dared, face the problem 
of his dark destiny, when his sympathies had a wider area, and 
when he would feel more at home with a fox, planning some depre- 
dation, than with a Hegel or a Huxley, contemplating the meaning 
of the universe. , , 

To our remote ancestors the question of the "Abyssmal depths 
of personality" was as sealed as it is still to an average peasant, 
whose idea of a God is that of a monster man. Historically our 
image of the great material world is earlier than our interpretation 
of its meaning. I have already tried to show what the Celtic idea 
of the world was. Though no believer in the authenticity of 
M'Pherson's Ossian, there are several cosmological fragments in it, 
of whose antiquity I am unable to doubt. When I read the beau- 
tiful romance of .Nausica, in the ninth Book of the Odessy, I find 

The Cosmos of the A ncfeni Gaels- 93 

myself in the living atmosphere of a Grecian isle ; in going through 
the Georgics, one is surrounded with the life and scenery of old 
Italy. Spenser decks the most idealistic of his fairy dells with the 
wayside beauties of Elizabethan England ; Wordsworth draws his 
peasant life from the actual habits of Westmoreland ; in Tennyson 
we find the perpetual purling of Lincoln or midland streams ; and 
Burns draws upon peasant life in Ayrshire for his humour, and for 
his peculiar pathos. And so I conclude the grand imagery of 
Ossianic literature never arose out of the bleak valley of the Spey, 
or out of any section of modern European life. That weird canopy 
of clouds, sighing winds, and thunderstorms, those scowling cliffs 
with their spectral visions, are both old and of the west. Only on 
a howling night off the Giant's Causeway, and in a thunderstorm 
on the edge of Glen Lennox, or in looking down into the furious 
cauldron of the Sannaig Rocks, or when facing the mists of dark 
Morven, have I at all, and even then feebly, realised some of the 
Ossianic imagery, or been able to transport myself into its actions 
and fierce struggles, and to see the long past events passing vaguely 
before me in its strange symbolism, in shadowy outlines of the 
brave and the fair ; .maidens purer than the sun, " with breasts 
whiter than the foam on the edge of the moon," titanic heroes striv- 
ing for glory, amidst scenes in which years rolled darkly past, in 
which the great ocean poured its wrath on sterile shores, in which 
winds sighed the sigh of death, and ghosts shrieked aloud " in the 
viewless wind of the cairn." 

As might be expected, all this is obscured by the common- 
place of the Tales, where we deal with monsters of many forms ; 
wraiths with one pool-like eye, giants standing about with aspen 
woods growing out of repulsive foreheads, one-legged ghosts and 
Fioiis, reminding us of the Polish Piast, generally herculean, but 
often crafty. Even here, however, the superhuman contest is 
often prolonged and terrible. Ian struggled, in one Tale, with a 
giant, and in the combat they made a " boggy bog of the rocky 
rock," and, as they fought on, their feet sank deeply into the 
hardest cliffs, and brought wells of water " out of the face of the 
hardest rock." In the Fingalians, a fragmentary poemlet, of which 
several versions have been lost and of which several are still 
current, the action is really a national struggle personified. 
" Patrick of sweetest psalms " finds mention here ; the unlawful 
passion of Lochlin's wife for a Fingalian hero results in a fierce 
national combat, and " four score and five thousand mighty men 
fell by the hands of Carra alone." 

We cannot lay too much emphasis on the fact, however, that the 

94 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

popular tales of all nations are in their plot and base very much alike. 
A curious illustration of this met me last year. As I was going to 
see the interesting ecclesiastical ruins of Oronsay, I passed, near 
the south end of Colonsay, the remains of an old chapel, evidently 
of Culdee origin; and Mr. M'Neil, who acted as my guide and 
whose natural intelligence is of a markedly high order, related a 
Tale of an occurrence connected with the lonely spot. That Tale 
was in substance, certainly in idea, the Hunchback Tale of Japan. 

A very large portion of what gives much of its charms to the 
peculiar traditional lore of the Highlands is of Norse origin, highly 
charged with Odinic theology. I am not prepared to assert that 
the polytheism of the Gaels was that of the Scandinavians ; but that 
the former went after many and strange gods seems clear. We do 
not, at least by name, find Wuotan, or Donar, or Freja in any Tale 
of undoubted authority; the elaborate cosmogony of Icelandic litera- 
ture has no equivalent in Gaelic ; and it is not easy to trace even 
any influence of Skaldinic origin. And yet the fierce paganism, to 
which I have already referred, is certainly Norse. I cannot agree 
either with those who deduce the triology, Wuotan, Fro, and 
Donar, of the Norse, from the Christian Trinity, or with those who, 
like Phene, discover serpent worship and the idea of the Trinity in 
such spots as the serpentine mound at Lochnell. The serpent may 
have been worshipped in the Highlands ; the boar certainly was, 
for if all the legends and tales that cluster round the death of 
Dermaid have any meaning, it points to an age when some reformer 
endeavoured to introduce a higher form of worship, and perished, 
as most true reformers have done, in the struggle caused by his 
own innovation. All social salvation is through suffering; and 
from the beginning of the world, quite as much as with the 
Hebrew prophets and modern reformers, the heralds of great move- 
ments have fallen a prey either to the blind virulence of opposing 
doctrines, or to the force of these movements themselves. 

In Glenorchy, in Kirkousland, and in many other places, I have 
found local traces of Odinism. The story of the Rider of Grianig 
is distinctly Odinic. To one other fact, and that one of some 
significance, I refer here. In all old literatures, justice is really 
revenge. It was always the old story, at its most merciful point, 
an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. We find Byron, in 
a moment of wild frenzy, declaring that the greatest curse that he 
could inflict on any mortal was to forgive him. In this utterance 
he expresses the spirit of Paganism. Christianity makes forgiveness, 
and Paganism makes revenge, a virtue. If that be so, if the chief 
argument against Mr. M'Pherson is the liberal introduction of 

The Cosmos of the Ancient Gaels. 95 

generosity to foes in his poems, even still the Highland idea of 
law is not justice but revenge, which excludes forgiveness. When 
M'Phersou ascribes these virtues of high generosity and the spirit 
of forgiveness to his valorous heroes, he at least is guilty of working 
through the aid of anachronism, whilst he proves himself to have 
but little insight into the great social and spiritual movements of 
North west Europe during the early Christian centuries. 

Who of us does not look, perhaps with some degree of fondness, 
to our younger days, when imagination greedily snatched the 
marvellous and the impossible, and when it fed upon nursery stories 
that really belonged to Odinic literature 1 I have even now 
distinct recollections of these days of luxuriant marvel, when the 
grand old stories of the Valhalla, which circulated in the north of 
Scotland as freely as on the flats of Brandenburgh, appeared to be 
histories and not myths, records of actual facts with the personal 
interest superadded, and not as allegories in which the workings of 
outer law were recorded. The marvellous steed, the sword, and 
cap were facts to me then. They are only rude symbols now. 
Swiftness and darkness, the power of rapid execution and that of 
concealment ; the eight-legged steed that went on the wings of the 
wind (the Germanic Sleipner), and the cap of darkness (the kappa 
of the Nibelungen the equivalent of the a-eraeroj of Mercury and 
of Macbeth's helmet of the night] are still with us, though in alien 
forms. This power of baffling foes, not by open contest and fair 
fight, finds its equivalent in the nineteenth century, a Freeman would 
tell us, in the contortions of diplomacy, and, as we need not be 
informed by any one, in the speech that conceals thought, in the 
darkness that covers the designs of the wicked, in the craft and 
cunning that I have already shown to be a leading factor in Celtic 
morals, and which were not condemned but applauded by the 
Celtic conscience. 

All nursery rhymes, and all popular customs, handed down 
from generation to generation carry a deep underlying meaning as 
survivals of forgotten religions, remnants of old creeds, broken 
fragments of ceremonies in which the adult population of byegone 
times solemnly took part. A few of these still retain something of 
the ghostly and much of the quaint. Dances, little ditties, and 
rhythmic movements now contemptible to all outside the four walls 
of the nursery, are crumbled down relics of imposing processions 
and great religious ceremonies which our Pagan ancestors, on some 
great day of sacrifice or worship, performed around the rude clachan 
or the sacrificial stone. We have still a Clachan an De 's airde, an 
undoubted relic of polytheism. Eound that, as round many 

96 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

others, rude voices once chanted rude hymns to the Supreme God, 
whose vengeance was invoked in frantic prayers, and whose favour 
was propitiated by human sacrifices. If we assume that in ruder 
ages, with ruder religions, the priests were worthy of their profes- 
sion, we may also assume that these ceremonies were invested with 
a vast amount of unnecessary mystery, and carried through with 
the aid of much trickery and unscrupulous pretence, out of which 
we can now extract only the symbol of a symbol, inasmuch as 
their rude ritual with its mysteries, enigmas, riddles, and general 
quackery, represented vaguely that contorted truth, and that all- 
reaching creed 

" Whose faith has centre everywhere, 
Nor cares to fix itself in form." 

Diodorus describes the Celts as being fond of enigmas, revel- 
ling in hyperbole, and with an overwhelming contempt for all 
others. Let us see how far his description is supported by our ex- 
isting fragments. Compelled to think keenly, to philosophize, the 
Gaels appear to have possessed a criterion of truth ; but judged by 
Mr. Campbell's Tales, they had no organ of discovery, at least 
consciously or definable. Hence their logic developed itself into a 
series of concrete quibbles, intricate riddles, quaint puzzles, and 
meagre fallacies, occupying the borderland between ascertained 
fact and possible truth. There -is much in the Tales to suggest 
Taleisin's Invocation of the wind : 

" The strong creature from before the flood, 

"Without flesh, without bones, without head, without feet, 

Without age, without season, 

It is always of the same age as the age of the seasons." 

What we call in logic the Law of Contradiction was certainly, in 
some form, known to the preservers of the stories ; and in the 
germ we come across no inconsiderable amount of sound philosophy 
disguised in proverbs, riddles, and aristic problems. If we translate 
the abstract into one of its concrete forms, we may meet much with 
which we are familiar in our text-books on reasoning. " De 's gile na 
sneachd ? Tha 'nfhirinn," expresses in a rough, semi-concrete manner 
Descartes' Criterion of Certainty and Clearness as the highest test of 
truth. The Gaels never got much beyond that primitive kind of 
reasoning which contents itself with concrete quibbles, gnomes, 
and fallacies, which is descriptive of natural or emblematical of 
real objects, and which was as different as the poles are asunder 

The Cosmos of the A ncient Gaels. 97 

from the puns and verbal ingenuity that are still used to excite 
curiosity amongst the Highlanders. The Gaelic riddles are not un- 
like the Greek Griphi, and many of them are in the same strain 
as that propounded by the Sphinx to CEdipus : " What is that 
which goes on four legs in the morning, on two at mid-day, and on 
three in the evening? " Thus : " What is that which the Creator 
never saw, which kings see but seldom, and that I see daily 1 " It 
is also noteworthy that most of the fallacies belong to the class 
called ambiguous middle. The following occur frequently, and are 
typical of the kind of reasoning that one still hears in the north- 
west : " The beard is older than the man, because it grows on the 
goat before the man." " There is a kind of tree which is neither 
bent nor straight." " One ladder can reach heaven if it is long." 
" If Fionn were as swift as the sun he could go round the world in 
a day." " I can hold one egg in my hand ; and yet twelve strong 
men with ropes cannot hold it." " The pupil of the eye is not 
bigger than a barleycorn, and yet it covers the table of a king." 
" What has no tongue tells no tales." " Smoke is higher than the 
king's palace." "What is false to me is false to you." "The 
first nine are my father's brothers, the second nine my mother's, 
the third nine are my sons, and they are all my husband's sons." 
I expand a specimen syllogistically : 

What more than covers the king's table is. larger than it ; 
The pupil of the eye more than covers the king's table, 
But a barleycorn is at least as large as the pupil of the eye, 
Therefore the barleycorn covers the king's table. 

To a like effect are many of the Gaelic proverbs. " Worthless is 
a tale without warrant " is a favourable specimen of the more practical 
logical maxims. These were not so subtle or so intricate as the 
eristic of Zeno the Eleatic, or the puzzles of Diodorus. In spite of 
their fragmentary character, however, with all their fantastical 
setting, and their tendency towards sophistry, they contain, if not 
a distinct recognition, at least a dim conception of a monistic 
system of inherence and sequence of events, or a kind of running 
up of causality, in all its forms, into the mysterious originative 
power of mind ; but nowhere do they project blind causation as an 
explanation either of change or being. Cause was traced back to 
some impulse in personal human mind, or some analogue of it ; the 
whole universe was ultimately resolved thus into some effort of 
mind. As the energetic Professor Blackie translates an idea of 
Empodocles : 


98 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

" Cause never dwelt in aught of sensuous kind, 
Sole first and last of all that was and is and yet shall be 
In heaven or earth is mind." 

One instance of the concrete Gaelic dealing with causality may 
be given here. The characters are Murachaig, an industrious youth, 
who goes forth to gather fruit, and Menachaig, a lazy drone, who 
stays at home and eats it. The former resolves to stop this pro- 
cedure, and to correct his brother's vicious habit. He therefore 
goes to the wood in quest of a rod suitable for flagellating pur- 
poses. But the axe was blunt, and Murachaig had to sharpen it. 
Consequently he had to follow cause into effect as follows. I 
give only a fragment : 

Murachaig [the first cause] discovered a baking woman, 

Who gave a cake to a young lad, 

Who therefore gave straw to the cow, 

Which therefore gave milk to the cat, 

Which therefore hunted a mouse, 

Which therefore buttered the dog's feet, 

Which therefore chased the deer, 

Which therefore ran to the water, 

Which therefore was discovered, 

Which therefore softened the stone, 

Which therefore sharpened the axe, 

Which therefore cut the rod, 

Which beat the lazy Menachaig. 

This is certainly a very rudirnental form of reasoning ; but it is a 
very fair specimen of the logic of the Tales. 

To say that conscience, individual, social, and general, is a grow- 
ing faculty, is only to admit that progress is possible. That the 
range of the old Gaelic conscience, both of the individual and social, 
was narrow, and that its verdict, tested by purer principles, was im- 
moral, I have tried to show in my former paper. The doctrine con- 
sists in facts and in stories, like that of the poor and rich brother 
(II. pp. 30-2), of which the morale is neither lofty nor pure. 
Though it does not differ much from the treachery of Jacob, it 
wants the charms of the sly trickery of Ulysses. Here unblushing 
roguery is triumphant, and success, through whatsoever means ob- 
tained, is the lesson taught. Almost everywhere ingenuity is the 
passport to success, against even the resources of the great world of 
giants and monsters. In one story, a large giant is represented as 
desirous to kill his son-in-law. Aware of his danger, the bride and 

The Cosmos of the A ncient Gaels. 99 

bridegroom flee, the giant pursues, and as hope is vanishing, the 
inexplicable comes to the aid of the unfortunate couple ; they some- 
how succeed in taking out of the ear of the filly that carried them 
twenty miles of thick thorn, twenty miles of hard rock, and twenty 
miles of deep sea, which they successively cast behind, and thus 
escape from the pursuing monster. Cuchullin is the strongest of 
heroes. But Fionn is swift, full of wily resource, and ready in in- 
vention. He has all the cunning of a modern provincial attorney, 
and can heckle and peddle like a Jew, as, for instance, he shows in 
his cautious cross-questioning of the affianced. The serpent is as fre- 
quently an emblem of cunning as it is of wisdom. The soothsayer, 
with his incantations and spells, and, ill OUT opinion, quackery, 
plays always an important role ; scarcely a hill or loch but has its 
petty deity, to whose malicious interference calamities and diseases 
are ascribed, and whose malevolence must be thwarted by the skilful 
art of the magician. A central doctrine of the whole mythology, as 
Mr. Campbell points out, is the superiority of skill to might. Valour 
is greatly to be desired, but wisdom is higher than valour. A quaint 
tale illustrates how cunning overcomes force, even in the superna- 
tural. A giant thirsts for more blood ; but Maol a' Chliobain saves 
herself by sheer resource ; she tries to escape ; and the giant follows 
in hot pursuit. " And the sparks of the fire that the giant brought 
out of the rocks with his fist struck Maol a' Chliobain in the back 
and burned her not, whilst the sparks which her heels struck out of 
the rocks smote the giant in the face and wounded him sorely." 
They came to the running water, always a barrier fatal to spirits of 
evil, and the giant could get no further. 

But I close in the meantime. I have left many questions of 
pressing interest almost untouched. The part played by second- 
sight in the mythology of the Celts, the meaning of marvellous 
supernatural interference in human affairs, the respect attached to 
the virtues of valour and fidelity, and many other points of value 
to the student of the Celtic Cosmogony, and the alien code of 
ethics, must be left for future consideration. The old mythology and 
tales do not consist of facts that can be wrested into modern ethical 
ideas. They are, nevertheless, whether we can read their teaching 
aright or not, relics of the long forgotten past ; exhumed fossils 
telling strange histories of a world otherwise absolutely gone. They 
are, moreover, pleasing links connecting us with a near period, 
now also gone, a period when these stories were told around the 
hearth in many a glen which is now a melancholy waste, when they 
were regarded as the exclusive property of some imposing patriarch 
on the verge of the grave, when their recital created awe and re- 

100 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

verence, and when they were believed in as firmly as the latest de- 
cree from the Vatican. And though some of us now look upon 
them as the mere phantom of a race 

" Uprising from the wild green sea of waves, 
Drifting with a low moan of mystery," 

they teach their lesson as emphatically to the most practical, as 
well as to the keenest visionary amongst us. That lesson, I think, 
is expressed well by the author of Balder the Beautiful : 

" Read these faint runes of mystery, 

Oh Celt, at home and o'er the sea ! 
The bond is loosed, the poor are free, 
The world's great future rests with thee. 

" Till the soil, bid cities rise, 

Be strong, oh Celt, be rich, be wise ! 
But still with those divine grave eyes, 
Eespect the realm of mysteries." 

TTHMAY, 1879. 

At the meeting on this date, the Secretary, Mr. William 
Mackenzie, read the following paper : 


In Volume VII. of these Transactions, two series of selections 
from my Celtic Portfolio appeared. During the present session, I 
gave a third series,* and to-night I give a fourth. In pre- 
senting you with these " Leaves," suffice it to say that they are 
selected at random from my Celtic gleanings during the past. 

I will in the first place give you two good old songs, which the 
Rev. Alexander Cameron, of Glengarry, has kindly sent me. Mr. 
Cameron took them down from the recitation of a Mrs. Macrae a 
Kintail woman who died during the present year (1879), at the 
age of 80. They were, according to her, composed by Iain Lorn. 
The bard was at the time, she said, in the service of a certain Alais- 
dair MacRath. Murdo, one of Macrae's sons, was lost in the hills, 
and search was made for him and continued until, after fifteen days, 
his body was found in Gleann-Lic, at the foot of a large rock locally 

* Vide page 18. 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 101 

known as " A' charraig." On each of the fifteen days they were in 
search of Murdo, Iain Lorn is said to have composed a song. The 
references in the second song to the grave, &c., indicate that it was 
composed after the body was found and buried, and not during the 
search. That these songs were composed by Iain Lorn cannot be 
easily proved, but whoever the author, they are well worthy of being 
recorded here.* 

Gleann-Lic, Mrs. Macrae knew very well, for her husband and 
she lived in it for four years " Mar uidhe urchair gunna bho'n aite 
anns an d'fhuaradh corp Mhurchaidh Mhic Alasdair. Theireadh iad 
gu dearbh," said Mrs. Macrae, " gu'm biodh feadhainn a' faicinn 's ag 
cluinntinn rud ann." Especially was the " Carraig" and a path 
that led through or past it, said to be haunted. Her own husband, 
indeed, had proof of it, for one morning in the end of harvest, in 
the beginning of a snow-storm, he and an assistant were taking 
sheep down from the heights "an deigh dha sneachd 6g a chuir. 
Fhuair iad an lorg mhoir chruinn ud air an t-sneachda, agus mar gu'm 
biodh sp6gan fada 'tighinn inach air an taobh chuil ! Bha fada fada 
eadar na h-uile lorg, agus cha robh iad ach mar gu'm biodh neach 
air aona chois a' toirt gamagan uabhasach ! " It was in this inte- 
resting locality that the body was found, at the foot of a precipice. 

" Bha figheadair ann an Cr6 Chinntaile aig an uair ud ris an 
abairte ' Am Breabadair bg ;' agus bha nadur cho fiadhaich crosd 
ann a's gu'm biodh paidhir dhagachan aige na chois daonnan agus 
iad nan laidhe (Ian urchair) air a' bheart 'nuair a bhiodh e 'figheadh." 
This valorous weaver was firmly convinced that it was the " Droch 
Aon" himself that put Murchadh Mac Alasdair " out of the way" 
(as an rathad) and therefore, loading his pistols with a silver 
coin instead of lead (Oir their iad nach dearg a chaochladh air an 
Fhear Mhillidh) he went to the place where the body was found, 
and lay in wait for fourteen days " 'dh-fheuchainn an tachradh an 
Droch Aon air, gus am marbhadh e e ! " But the Breabadair 6g 
was disappointed and returned home. It was commonly believed 
that Murchadh Mac Alasdair had, during his walk in the hill, found 
a man a " Glasach" stealing his goats. Having taken him 
prisoner, Murdo was bringing him home it is supposed, and that as 
they were passing along the " Cadha," at the " Carraig," the 

* Since writing the above, I made several enquiries as to the authorship. The 
circumstances attending Murchadh Mac Alasdair's death appear to be pretty 
well known in the West, but I failed to ascertain the date. Iain Lorn witnessed 
the battle of Inverlochy in 1645, and sang the praises of the victorious army. 
He died in 1710. Were Murchadh Mac Alasdair and the bard contemporaries ? 
One seanachaidh informs me that the elegies were composed by Murdo s brother 
another says by his sgalag. Was Iain Lorn the sgaLig ? 

1 02 Gaelic Society of In verness. 

Glasach,* pitched Murdo over the precipice at the foot of which his 
body was found. This is, indeed, all the more probable, added the 
old lady, as a certain Glasach, on his deathbed, was understood to 
have made some confession regarding Murchadh Mac Alasdair's 
death ; but the person to whom the secret was confided, would 
never divulge it. The following are the songs : 

Och nan ochan 's mi sgith, 
'Falbh nan cnoc so ri sion, 
Gur neo-shocrach a' sgrlob tha 'san diithaich ; 

Thu bhi, Mhurchaidh, air chall 

Gun aon chuimse c' e 'm ball ; 

Sud an urchair bha caillte dhuinne. 

Och mo chlisgeadh 's mo chas, 
Gun tu 'n ciste chaol chlair, 
Le fios aig do chairdean ciuirrt' air. 

'S beart nach guidhinn do m' dheoin 
Ach na ludhaig Dia oirnn, 
Do chul buidhe bhi ch6ir na h-uireach. 

Slan le gliocas, 's le ceill 
'S a bhi measail ort fhein, 
'S nach eil fhios ciod e 'n t-eug a chiurr thu. 

Slan le treine na seoid, 
Slan le gleusdachd duin' 6ig, 
'N uair nach d' fheud thu bhi beo gun churam. 

Slan le binneas nam bard, 
Slan le grinneas nan lamh ; 
Co ni mire ri d' mhnaoi, no sugradh ? 

Slan le fiadhach nam beann, 
Slan le iasgach nan allt 
Co chuir iarunn an crann cho cliuiteach 1 

* My friend, Mr. Colin Chisholm, assures me that this dastardly act was not 
committed by a Glasach. He usually heard it attributed to a Glenmoriston man. 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 103 

Do luchd-faire* gim fhiamh, 
Bho'n bha d' air' orra riamh 
Nochd cha ghearain am fiadh a churam. 

Faodaidh an earbag an noclid, 
Eadar mhaoisleach a's bhoc 
Cadal samhach air cnoc gun churam. 

Faodas ise bhi slan, 
'Siubhal iosal a's aird, 
Bho'n a chailleadh an t-armunn cliuiteach. 

'S ait le binnich nan allt,t 
'Chor 's gu'n cinnich an clann, 
Gu'n do mhilleadh na bh'ann de d' fhiidar. 

Cha b'e d' fhasach gun ni, 
No d' fhearann-aitich chion all, 
Ach sgeul nach binn e ri sheinn 's an duthaich. 

Och nan och a's mi sgith, 
Falbh nan cnoc so ri sion, 
Gur neo-shocrach a' sgrlob tha 'san duthaich. 


'S i sealg Geamhraidh Ghlinne-Lic 

A dh' fhag greann oirnn trie a's gruaim, 

Mu'n 6g nach robh teann 'sa bha glic, 
'S an' teampull fo'n lie 's an' uaigh. 

A' cheud Aoine na Gheamhradh fhuar, 
'S daor a phaigh sinn buaidh na sealg, 

An t-6g bu chraobhaiche snuagh, 
Na aonar uainn a's fhaotainn marbh. 

Tional na sglre gu leir, 

Ei siubhal sleibh, 's ri falbh bheann, 
Fad sglos nan coig latha deug, 

'S am fear dlreach treun air chall. 

* This refers to the deer, 
t The roe-deer. 

104 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Murchadh donn-gheal mo run, 

Bu mhln-suil 's bu leannan mnaoidh, 

A' ghnuis anns an robh am ball-seirc, 
'S a bha tearc air thapadh laimh. 

Chuala mise clarsach theud, 

Fiodhall a's beus ag co-sheinn 

Cha chuala a's cha chluinn gu brath, 
Ceol na b'fhearr na do bheul binn. 

Bu tu marbhaich' 'bhalla-bhric bhain, 

Le morbh caol, fada, geur ; 
Le cuilbheir bhristeadh tu cnaimh, 

'S gu'm bu shilteach fo d' laimh na fe'idh ! 

'Bhean uasal a thug dhuit gaol, 

Nach bi chaoidh na h-uaigneas slan, 

'S truagh le mo chluasan a gaoir, 

Luaithead 's a sgaoil an t-aog an snaim. 

'o tursach do chinneadh nior deas 
Ga d' shireadh an ear 's an iar, 

'S an t-og a b'f hiughantaich beachd 
Ki slios glinne marbh 's an t-sliabh. 

Tha Crathaich nam buailtean b6 

Air an sgaradh ro-mh6r mu d' eug 

Do thoir as a bheatha so 6g 

A ghaisgich nan corn 's nan ceud. 

'S tuirseach do sheachd braithrean graidh, 
Am pearson gu h-ard a leugh, 

Thug e, ge tuigseach a' cheird, 
Aona bharr-tuirs' air each gu leir. 

Bho thus dhiubh Donnchadh nam pios, 
Gillecriosd, a's dithis do'n chl^ir, 

Fearchar agus Ailean Donn, 

Uisdean a bha trom na d' dheigh. 

Gur tuirseach do gheala bhean 6g, 
'S i 'sileadh nan deoir le gruaidh, 

'S a' spionadh a fuilt le de6in, 

'8ior chumha nach beo do shnuagh. 

Leaves from my Geliic Portfolio. 105 

'S math am fear-rannsachaidk an t-aog, 

'Se 'm maor e a dh-iarras gu mion ; 
Bheir e leis an t-og gun ghiamh, 

'S fagaidh e 'm fear liath ro shean. 

The next song Turns Aoughais do'n Ghealaich is serio-comic 
in its nature. The friend who favoured me with it sent the follow- 
ing history of it : 

Ann an Gleann-Eileachaig, shuas aig ceann Loch-Longa, an 
Ciuntaile, bha uair-eigin a comhnaidh dithis ghillean. 'Se Aonghas 
Mac-'ille-mhaoil a b' ainm do dh-fear diubh, agus a chionn 's gu'm 
biodh e 'cumail a cheann ro dhireach agus a 1 sealltainn suas theireadh 
cuid " Aonghas dlroach" ris, agus cuid eile " Aonghas na Gealaich." 
'S e Uisdean Mac-Cullach a bh' air an fhear eile, agus bho'n 
bha e crubach a's 'na thaillear theireadh iad " An Taillear 
Crubach" ris. Cha robh aon neach anns a' choimhearsnachd 
do nach d'rinu " An Taillear Crubach " 6ran ; agus air "Aonghas 
na Gealaich" gu sonruichte, cha 'n fhaigheadh e cothrom 's am 
bith nach biodh e sas ann. Bha Aonghas an sud oidhche air 
bal-dannsaidh, agus 'n uair thainig e dhachaidh bhuail a mhathair 
air trod ris, a' cumail mach gu'n robh tuilleadh 's a ch6ir de'n uisge- 
bheatha aige. An uair thuirt i so ris, an aite dha dhol a chadal 's 
ann a ghabh e mach le 'thuadh a ghearradh connaidh, agus air dha 
gnothachan a chuir ceart an sin, dh' fhalbh e, gun tilleadh dhach- 
aidh, gu ruig an Tigh-ban. A chionn nach d' innis e c'aite an 
robh e 'dol agus nach d' thainig e dhachaidh fad na h-ath 
oidhche th6isich a chairdean agus uile mhuinntir a' bhaile 
air a shireadh air feadh na bruaich le lochrain agus soluis. " Ge 
b'e c'aite an robh thus' Aonghais, cha b' fhada gus an d' thainig 
thu beo slan, fallain, dhachaidh leat fhein agus do cheann cho 
dtreach 'sa bha e rianih" ; agus 's e bh' ann gu'n d'rinn an " Taillear 
Crubach" an t-6ran so a leanas air : 

Gur mis' tha fo mhulad, 

Bho 'n chailleadh an t-fhiiiian deas 6g, 
Agus ceann-ard na fine, 

Cloinn-'ic-mhaoilein ga d' shireadh 's tu beo ; 
Tha do chiste ga sabhadh, 

'S iomadh fear a ta 'fasgadh nan dorn, 
'S tha do leannan gun eiridh 

Ach an d' fhuair i ort sgeul bho na Chro. 

106 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

'S trie mi 'smaointinn, a ghaisgich, 

Dh'fhalbh a shraid Bhaile-chaisteil an tuim, 
Dh'fhag sud luasgan air m' aigne 

Chuir mi iomral air cadal na h-oidhch' ; 
Bho'n a chailleadh tu, Aonghais, 

Bheir mi greis air bhi 'g iomradh do loinn, 
'S e dh'fhag muladach m' inntinn, 

Bhi ga d' shireadh feadh fhrlthean a' Ghaill. 

Gas a shiubhal na m6inteich ! 

Agus sealgair a' ghebidh air an t-snamh ! 
Mar ri ialltan a's lachan 

Leat bu mhiann bhi ga'n caitheamh dhe d' laimh ; 
'S iomadh fear tha bochd, traagh dheth, 

Bho'n thug thu 'n car suas chon a' Mhaim, 
Agus fear tha gun ghluasad 

'S ann diubh Frisealach ruadh an Tigh-bhain ! 

'S tha Mac-'uireach-Dhomh'll* duilich 

Bho'n a dh' fhalbh thu 'm " balloon" can sgiath, 
Air an astar nach till thu 

Ghabh thu seachad os-clnn Loch-nan-ian, 
Gabh thu 'n rathad a b' airde, 

Ach am faice' tu c'aite an robh 'ghrian 
Gur e tilleadh a b' fhearr leat 

'N uair a dh' fhairich thu gailich nan nial. 

Dh'fhalbh Aonghas 's a' mhaduinn, 

Gus a' chraobh 'bh'anns a' ghealaich a bhuain, 
Gus a gearradh, no splonadh 

Bha e 'g radh, 'n uair a ghiaraich e 'thuadh ; 
Bha e 'siubhal fad seachduin 

Anns an t-slighe bha drabhasach buan, 
'S mu'n do smuainich e tilleadh, 

Bha na speuran ga mhilleadh le fuachd. 

Thuirt am fear bha gu h-ard ris, 

" Co as a thainig an sonn ? 
Cha bhi do shaothair gun phaidheadh, 

Ged tha mis' agus m' fhardach gle 16m ; 

* Mac-uireach-Dhomh?ll was the father of Angus's sweetheart. 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 107 

Bha mi roiinhe ga gearradh 

'S tha mi nise ga faire gu tr6m, 
Tha mo Icabaidh gun dlon ann 

'S mi fo shileadh nam miar aig a bonn." 

Labhair Aonghas gu sughmhor 

" Ma ghearras tu chraobh bi'dh tu paidht', 
Thug mi fada ga sireadh, 

'S chuir i eis air mo phiseach gu brath ; 
Thug mi corr a's seachd bliadhna 

Eadar gu h-iosal 's gu h-ard, 
'S ma 's e tall' e 'm beil aoibhneas 

'Leig thu mise seal oidhche 'na d' aite 1 " 

Sin 'n uair thuirt am fear liath ris 

" 'S math mo bharail gur sgianadair thu, 
Eirin thu 'n t-astar a phian thu, 

Chon na fasdail chuir fialachd air chul ; 
Fhad 's a bhiodh tu ga gearradh 

Cha 'n fhaigh thu chead fantuinn a dh' uin', 
'S tha mi 'togairt do thilgeil, 

Gu bhi deanamh na h-iinrich as ur." 

Labhair Aonghas an gaisgeach 

Ann an c6mhradh cath an fhir leith, 
Dol an coinneamh na h-iorghuill, 

'S cha robh 'n seann duin' ag agair na reit' 
" Thus' a bhodaich air crionadh, 

'S gu'm bheil mise mo ghlomhanach treun, 
Theid do chrochadh ri meur dhi 

'S gu'm bi chraobh fo mo riaghailte fhein ! " 

I will now give you a poem composed by Mrs. Mary Mackellar, 
about twenty years ago, after reading of Locheil of the '45, leav- 
ing the Prince asleep, and going to get a last look of his ancient 
castle. On his arriving at his destination, the Chief found nothing 
but the bare walls, the " Eed Soldiers " having burned the castle to 
the ground. Mrs. Mackellar gives expression to the thoughts that 
must have roused her chief s breast. "Air learn," said she, "gar 
ann mar so a labhair an ceann-feadhna uasal " : 

An eiginn domhsa, triath nam beaun, 

Bhi 'm fhograch fann air feadh nan stuchd, 

108 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

'S gu tosdach sealltuin air do cheann 
Mo dhachaidh aosda anns an uir ! 

Loisg na " Dearganaich " gu lar 

Gach baideal ard dhe m' dhachaidh ghaoil 

'S an trie a fhuair mi fois a's tlaths 
Air tilleadh dhomh o ar nan laoch, 

'S nuair thogadh slth a bratach suas 

'Sa bhithinns' le in' thuath-chearn' fhein 

'Tighinn luchdaichte gu tur nam buadh, 
O'n chreachan fhuar 's am biodh na feidh 

Bu phailt am fion, 's bhiodh piob air ghleus, 
'Si caithreaniach mu'r '11 euchd 's na blair, 

'S 'nuair bheireadh Seanachaidh greis air sgeul 
Mu ghniomharan nan treun a bha 

Bhiodh cridh' gach cuiridh laist 'na chom 
'Se ann am fonn gu bhi 's an ar 

'S gach Camshronach 'sa bhbid gu trom 
Gu ainm bhi measg nan sonn 's an dan. 

'S 'nuair thogainnse mo shrol a suas 
'S crois-taraidh le luaths na gaoith 

G'an tional gu toiteal nan tuagh 

'S ann riamh gu buaidh a thriall na laoich. 

Bha uamhann air na Goill roiinh 'r n-ainm 
'S ged tha 'n diugh coilbh Ohuilfhodair ac' 

Si 'm ban-fhuil fhein bhiodh fo na buinn 
Na, 'n robh ar suinn gu leir na'r taic. 

A thaibhse Bhruis, dean faire learn ! 

A's sileamaid ar deoir le cheiT 
Chuir t-Albainn fein a'n diugh air chul 

Oighre do chruin, is mor am bend. 

Ceannairc 'na aghaidh cha dean mi, 
'S do choigreach mar righ cha lub ; 

An aobhar trocair deir iad rium 

Thug iad o m' Phrionnsa gaoil a chrun. 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 109 

An Duitsich no'n Guelphich an d' fhuair 

Trocair no truacantas tamh 1 
Na d' ollanaich fhuiltich o'n uaigh 

Ghleann Comhann luaidh dhuinn sgeul do chraidh. 

A's eireadh sibhs a laochan mor 

A thuit an Cuilfhodair nan creuchd 
Is innsibh 'nuair a laidh sibh lebint' 

Mar rinn a'n Cu bhur feoil a reub'. 

Bi' d' thosd mo chridh' a's sguir dhe d' thurs' 

Cha 'n am gu tuireadh so no tamh ! 
Mo chreach mo lamb, bhi 'n diugh gun luth's 

Gu dioghladh air son luchd mo ghraidh ! 

A dbachaidh aigh bu Ian do ghaol 

Gach broilleach caomh na d' thaobb a steach, 

'S mu'n cuairt dbe d' theallach gheibhte faoilt 
Leis an aoidhe aimbeartach. 

'S ged bhios mi 'm fhograch thall tliair chuan 
Cha teid o m' chuimbn' na h-uairean 6ir 

A chaith mi measg do thuilmean uain' 
Ach-na-carraidh 'm uachdran sloigh. 

ch6in a righ ! se fuil a's driuchd 

An diugh air do fhlurain mhaoth, 
Do bhaidealan sinnt' anns an uir 

Soraidh leat a luchairt ghaoil ! 

'Sa nis tha lochran seimh na h-oidhche 

'Boillsgeadh ort a ghlinn mo chridh', 
A's eiginn triall mu 'n toir i soills 

Do dhaoidhearan tha air mo thi. 

Triallam grad gu beinn an f hraoich 

'S am bheil Prionns mo ghaoil ri tamh ; 

Soraidh le m' fhine 's le m' dhaoine ! 
'S bi'dh iad leamsa caomh gu brath. 

The following spirited translation of the above is also from Mrs. 
Mackellar's pen : 

110 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Must I, the lord of all these hills, 
A weary exiled wanderer roam ; 

And quietly view thy ruined walls, 
My own, my loved ancestral home. 

The red-coats burned thy lofty dome 
Home by a thousand ties made dear 

From war to thee how oft I 've come, 
With love's sweet joys, my soul to cheer. 

When peace did her white banner rear, 
And loving vassal and his lord 

Went forth to hunt the roe and deer, 
And turned to grace the festal board, 

The blood-red wine in plenty poured, 
And pibroch told of battles won, 

Till Senachie would in pride record 
The mighty deeds our sires had done. 

Then martial fire, in sire and son, 

Would burst into one glowing flame ; 

And vows were breathed by every one, 
He 'd ne'er disgrace the Cameron name. 

When time to raise our banner came, 
And fiery cross was swiftly sped, 

Where heroes bold did pant for fame, 
'Twas aye to victory we led. 

The southern foe our name did dread, 
Though now Culloden's palm they bear, 

They in their own pale blood did tread, 
Had all our gallant clans been there. 

Come, shade of Bruce, my vigils share, 
Come, o'er ungrateful Scotland mourn, 

She hath disowned thy rightful heir 
Indignant fire my soul doth burn. 

To wear a foreign yoke I'd spurn, 
Nor 'gainst my lawful king rebel, 

That crown and sceptre 's from him torn, 
In mercy's cause they fain would tell. 

Leaves from my Ge/tic Portfolio. Ill 

In Dutch or Guelph doth mercy dwell ? 

Ye gallant heroes of Glencoe, 
Arise in gory shrouds and tell 

Your mournful tale of dool and woe. 

Ye heroes great, whose blood did flow 

Upon Culloden's dreary moor, 
Come tell now when ye were laid low 

The savage hound* did stab ye o'er. 

Be hushed, my heart, and grieve no more, 

This is no time to sit and rest, 
I'll hie me to a foreign shore, 

And strive to get our wrongs redressed. 

Sweet home, within thee every breast 

Did glow with love and purity, 
And round thy hearth the stranger guest 

Found kindest hospitality. 

And though exiled beyond the sea, 

I'll ne'er forget the golden hours 
When I had roamed, a chieftain free, 

'Mong Auchnacarry's woodland bowers. 

'Tis gore bedews the budding flowers 

That spring awakes in glade and dell 
Around thy ruined ancient towers, 

Home of my heart, farewell, farewell ! 

With bleeding heart I bid farewell 

With you, my brave and faithful clan, 
Dear in his exile to Locheil 

Will be each gallant Cameron man. 

But night's pale lamp lights up the glen, 

And I must hide from watchful foes, 
I'll hie to where my Prince has lain 

In balmy sleep to drown his woes. 

* Cumberland. 

112 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

For the following song, I am indebted to Mr. Colin Chisholm, 
Inverness. It is the composition of Alastair Mac Iain Bhain, the 
Glenmoriston Bard, whose oran an t-saighdear I gave among 
these " Leaves" in our last volume : 

Thoir ma shoiridh-sa an drasda 

Dh-fhios an ait' 'm hheil mo mheanmhuinn, 
Gu Duthaich Mhic Phadruig 

'S an d'fhuair mi m' arach 's mi 'm leanabau; 
Gar an innis mi an drasd' e 

Cha deach mo chail dhaibh ail dhearmad 
Meud a mhulaid 'bh'air pairt dhiubh 

Ann 'san damhar 'an d'fhalbh mi. 

Chorus Thoir mo sh61as do'n duthaich 

'S bidh mo run dhi gu m' eug, 
Far am fksadh a' ghiubhsach 

'S an goireadh smudan air gheug, 
Thall an aodainn an diinain 

Chluinnte thuchan gu reith 
Moch 'sa' mhaduinn ri driuchd 

An am dusgaidh do'n ghrein. 

'S iomadh aite 'n robh m' eolas 

Bha mi og anns an armailt ; 
Luchd nam fasan cha b" eol domh 

Bho na sheol mi thair fairge, 
Bha sibh eireachdail stuaime 

Mar bu dual duibh le anbharr, 
'S rinn sibh 'n t-urram a bhuanachd 

'S an taobh-tuath as an d'fhalbh sibh. 

'S truagh nach robh mi an drasda 

Far am b' abhaist dhomh taghal, 
Mach ri aodann nan ard-bheann, 

A's stigh gu sail Carn-na-h-eabhaich, 
Far an faicinn an lan-damh 

'Dol gu laidir 'na shiubhal, 
'S mar beanadh leon ua bonn craidh dha 

Bu ro mhath 'chail dha na bhruthach. 

Gheibhte hoc ann an Ceannachnoc 
Agus earbag 'san doire, 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 11$ 

Coileach dubh au Airidhiamlaich 

Air bheag iarraidh 'sa' choille ; 
Bhiodh an liath-chearc mar gheard air 

'G innse dhan dha roimh theine, 
Ach 's gann a thigeadh am bas air 

'Nuair bhiodh a gradh do dh-fhear eile. 

Gheibhte rachd a's lach riabhach 

Anns an riasg air Loch Coilleig, 
Coileach ban air an iosal 

'Sam b' ghnath do 'n fhiadh a bhi taghal, 
Mar bitheadh e farasda thialladh 

Na. togaibh sgialachd na m' aghaidh, 
Ach 's trie a chunnaic sinn sealgar 

Sgith falbh gun dad fhaighinn. 

Gheibhte gruagaichean laghach 

Bhiodh a taghal 's na gleanntaibh, 
'Cuallach spreidhe 's dha 'm bleoghan 

An tim an fhaghair 's an t-samhridh 
Am p6r a dheanainn a thaghadh 

'S gur iad an raghuinn a b-annsa, 
Briodal beoil gun bhonn coire 

'S nach tigeadh soilleir gu call dhuinn. 

Tha mo chion air mo leannan 

Leis nach b'aithreach mo luaidh rith' 
Tha a slios mar an canach 

No mar eala nan cuaintean ; 
Tha a p6g mar am fiogas, 

'S glan sioladh a gruaidhean, 
Suil ghorm as glan sealladh 

Fo chaol mhala gun ghruaimean. 

The next song which I will give you Thogainn fonn air lorg an 
fheidh is one that well deserves a page of our Transactions : 

'S miann le breac a bhi 'n sru cas, 
'S miann le hoc bhi 'n doire dlu, 
'S miann le eilid bhi 'm beinn ard 
'S miann le sealgair falbh le 'chu. 
Chorus Agus 6 air moro h-6, 

Aoill 6 air moro h-6, 
Agus 6 air moro h-6, 

Thogainn fonn air lorg an fheidh. 


114 Gaelic Society of In verness. 

Cha mhiann bodaich mo mhiann fein 
Cha mhiann leis eiridh ach mall ; 

Cha lub gruagach 6g 'na sge 
Tarruinnidh e leis fe"in an t-sranu. 
Agus 6, &c. 

Nichean sin do 'n d'thug mi speis, 

'S bu mhiannach learn iad bhi m' chbir 

Mo ghunna glaic air dheagh ghleus, 

Dlreadh ri beinn, a's bean 6g !__ 

Agus 6, &c. 

'S nichean sin do 'n d' thug mi fuath : 

Bean luath a's cii mall ; 
Oighre fearainn gun bhi glic, 

Agus slios nach altrum clann ! 
Agus 6, &c. 

Bu mhiann leam ri latha fuar : 
Dlreadh suas ri aonach cas, 

'N uair a thilginn mac an fhe'idh, 
Coin air eill, 's ga'n leigeil as. 
Agus 6, &c. 

Leam bu mhiann bhi 'siubhal bheann ; 

Osan teann a bhi mu m' chos, 
Brog iallach dhubh, gunna cruaidh, 

Eilid ruagh a's cu m'a dos. 
Agus 6, &c. 

'S ge d' fhaighinn bean a' chinn bhain, 
Air mo laimh bu bheag mo speis, 

Gu'm b' annsa leam bean dhonn 

'Bheireadh trom ghaol domh le ceill. 
Agus 6, &c. 

Nighean Uilleim anns a' ghleann, 
Bean a b' annsa leam fo 'n ghrein ; 

'S na'm biodh Uilleam ann am blar, 
Gheibhinnse mo gradh dhomh fein. 
Agus 6, &c. 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 115 

'S mo cheisd air bean a' chinn duibh, 

'S docha learn i 'n diugh na'n de, 
Mhiad 'sa chuala mi de 'cainnt, 

Gar i b'annsa leam fo 'n ghrein. 
Agus 6, &c. 

Let me follow the above by a good Jacobite song. I am in- 
debted for it to an old woman from Skye : 

Gur a mis' tha fo mhulad 
Air an tulaich 's mor m' eislean ! 
Chorus Hor6 ho hi hbireanan 
H6ro chall eile 
Hor6 ho h\ hoireanan ! 

Mi na m' laidhe ann an Crosal.* 
'S trdm an osn' tha fo m' leine, 
Horo, &c. 

Chunnaic mise mo leannan 
'S cha do dh' fhainich e 'n de mi. 
Horo, &c. 

Cha do dh' fhidir 's cha d'fharaid 
'S cha do ghabh emo sgeula. 
Horo, &c. 

Chunnaic mise mo luaidh 
'Dol seach' buaile na spreidhe. 
Horo, &c. 

Bha do ghunn' air do ghualainn 
'Dol a ruagadh na h-eilde. 
Horo, &c. 

Cuim nach guidhean an Donach 
Le Clann-Domhnuill nan geur-lann. 
Horo, &c. 

Luchd nan calpanan troma 
Chite foinnidh fo 'n fheileadh. 
Horo, &c. 

* Crosal is in Macleod's country in Skya. 

116 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Luchd nam boghanan iughair 
'Chuireadh siubhal fo shaighdean. 
Horo, &c. 

Luchd nan gunnachan du-ghorm 
'Chuireadh smuid air feadh slelbhe. 
Horo, &c. 

Luchd nan claidhmhnean geala 
Chitear lainnir la grein' annt'. 
Horo, &c. 

Thug sibh mionnan a' bhiobuill 
Air strath iosal Alld-Eirinn. 
Horo, &c. 

reachadh claidheamh na dhubladh 
Gus an cruinte Eigh Seumas. 
Horo, &c. 

Gus an deanta High Seoras 

A' roiceadh 'sa reubadh. 

Horo ho, hi hoireanan 

H6ro, chall eile, 

Hor6 ho hi h6ireanan ! 

The following "Soldier's Song" describes the hardships, &c., 
which the early Highland soldiers had to undergo. The ceile to 
which the song is addressed is of course the musket : 

Chorus. Hiliu, hillin 6, agus 6 hillin e*ile, 
Hiliu, hillin 6, agus 6 hillin e"ile, 
Air faithill, Ithill 6, 
Agus b hillin eile, 
Mo nighean donn an t-sugraidh 
Mo dhurachd bhi reidh riut. 

Tha 'n oidhche nochd gle fhuar 

'S mise 'g uallach mo cheile, 
Ga giiilan air mo ghualainn, 

'S neo-uallach learn fein e : 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 11' 

Cha'n fhaod mi 'dhol an uaigneas 

No shuairceas ri t' e"ile, 
'S cha'n urra mi 'cur bhuam 

Bho na fhuair mi bho'n chleir i ! 

Bho'n fhuair mi far an tuir thu 

'S tu ur bharr na feille, 
Air learn gu'm b' mhor an cliu 

Bhi ga d' ghiiilan gu h-eutrom ; 
Ach 'nuair sbeall mi air mo chulaobh 

'S mi 'n duil a bhi reidh riut, 
Cha tuiginn guth dhe d' chanain 

An Gailig no 'm Beurla. 

A' chiad la cbuir mi snaim ort 

Chaidh maill air mo leirsinn ; 
Chaidh di-chuimbn' air mo chuimhne 

A's boidhread air m' eisdeachd, 
Gus an do chuir an aimbreit 

Mo cheann troimhe cheile 
Cha tuiginn guth dhe d' chainnt 

Measg nan Gall gus an d' eigh thu ! 

! 's mise 'fhuair an cimnradh 

Bean ruisgte gun eideadh, 
A laidheas aims na cuiltean, 

'S nach ionnlaid mo leine ; 
Ach a dh-fheumas mi le burn 

A bhi sguireadh a creubhaig, 
'S ag giulan cupal phunnd 

Eadar uilleadh a's bhreidean. 

An gunna ga fhreagairt : 

De maith dhut a bhi rium 1 

Ged nach cunntar learn spr&dh dhut ; 
Bi dollair dhut ga'n cuinneadh 

A's flur air gach feill dhut ; 
Bi'dh mairteoil, muilteoil, ur 

Anns gach butha do'n teid thu ; 
'S leat aran cheithir punnd ; 

'S do chuid lionn' cha mi dh-eis ort ! 

118 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

The Lament for " The Four Johns of Scotland " will be my 
next piece. The " Four Johns," it may "Be said, were John Mac- 
kenzie of Hilton ; John Mackenzie of the Applecross family ; John 
Macrae, tacksman of Conchra ; and John Murchison, tacksman of 
Auchtertyre. They were officers under Seaforth at Sheriffmuir, and 
were killed there hence the Lament. The term by which they 
are known, Ceitliir lainean nah-Alba, indicates that they must have 
been mighty men and valiant. The cumJta was composed by Kenneth 
Macrae, Ardelve. In 1715, he was about 70 years of age, but, 
nevertheless, his zeal for the Jacobite cause was such that nothing 
would prevent him from being present at Sliabh an t-Siorra. The 
UUlearn, to which reference is made in the song, is Seaforth 
Uilleam DuVh : 

Tha Uilleam cliuiteach an diugh fo chas, 
Tha 'chridhe bruite, 's beag ioghnadh dha ; 
Bu ghlan ar n-6igriclh o 'n thog e 'n tos iad, 
'S gach bratach bhoidheach a bhuineadh dha. 

'S ann a Cinntaile so dh'fhalbh na suinn, 
Cha robh an aicheadh fo bhrataich Fhinn, 
Na fir bha daicheil, 's iad sgaiteach, laidir, 
Gur e mo chradh-lot mar tharladh dhuibh. 

An latha 'dhlrich sinn ris an aird, 

Bha fearg a's fraochan air fir mo ghraidh, 

A's claidheamh dubailte 'n crios gach diumhlaich, 

A's Spainntich dhu' ghorm an glaic 'ur lamh. 

An uair a ghluaiseadh an sluagh a Peairt, 

Bha barail thruagh aims an uair ud ac', 

Gu'm biodh Alb', 'us Eirinn, 'us Sasuinn r^idh dhoibh, 

'S na h-uile ceum dhiubh fo bheum an ghlaic. 

Mo chreach-sa fudar a's luaidhe ghlas, 
A bhi 'n 'ur suilean a's sibh 'n 'ur teas ; 
'Nuair sheas ha fiiiranan ctil ri ciil ann, 
Bu bheag an curam dha 'n cuid each. 

'Nuair thug mi suil air an triipa ghlais, 

Bha fir mo niin-sa 'g an cur 'n an teas, 

Mar gharadh aon-fhillt gu'n thilg a' ghaoth iad, 

Ach thar na slaodaireansalach as. 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 119 

Bha luchd nam balgan sin 'n an cath, 
Nam briogsan cainbe 's nan casag glas. 
Bu mhor an sgrol iad 'g an cur 'an 6-rdugh, 
'S e 'm Brainan mhr a thug sinn a mach. 

Gu'n thuit an t-6ganach anns an t-sreup, 
An t-Iain o Chonchra, 's bu mh6r am beud, 
An curaidh laidir le neart a ghairdean, 
A' cur nan aghannan diubh gu feur. 

B'e sud Iain Chonchra a bha gun sgath, 
B'e 'n duine marbhtach e anns a' bhlar, 
Hi sgoltadh cheann fhad 's a mhair a lann da, 
'S bha fir gun chainnt ann as de^gh a laimh. 

Bha fear Uchdarir ann, 's bu righ air sluagh ; 
B'e sud a' fir-ghaisgeach fior-ghlan, cruaidh, 
B'e leomhan garg e a bha ro chalma, 
Air thus na h-armailt e rompa suas. 

B' e sud am milidh 'bha cinnteach, cruaidh, 
O'n aitim rloghail bu ro-mhath snuagh, 
An teaghlach muirneach, 's fhad sgaoil an cliu as, 
A's cha b'e 'sgugaire thainig uath'. 

Bha mac Iain oig ann, 's bu mhoir am beud ; 
B'e sud an t-6ganach foinnidh, treun, 
Le 'chlaidheamh cruadhach o neart a ghualainn, 
Gur iomadh gruag a chuir e gu feur. 

Bha 'seobhag suairc ann Fear Bhaile-Chnuic, 

A' fiuran uasal, 's e laidir, bras, 

A' gearradh luthan nan eacha crudhach, 

Bu mhillt' a shugradh, 's bu shearbh a ghreis. 

Cha bu liugair e 'dol air ghleus, 
'S cha bu chubair air chul na sgdith ; 
Ach an diumhlach bha cridheil, sunndach, 
A dhearbh a dhurachd mnn thuit e fein. 

Ach a dhaoine nach cruaidh an cas, 
Uilleam cliuiteach a dhol 'n an dail, 
Bha 'fhuil le 'ghruaidhean le siubhal luaidhe, 
'S bu chulaidh-uamhais 'nuair bhuail e 'ghraisg. 

120 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Mur b'e luaithead 's a rinn iad olc, 
'S gu'n d'rinn a' luaidhe gu cruaidh do lot, 
Bhiodh claignean ciurrt' aig luchd bhriogsan duinte, 
Le lannaibh du ghorm bu mhath 's an trod. 

Nach b'e 'fudar an liiigach se61t', 
'Nuair thug e 'n crun dheth an taobh bu ch6ir, 
Le 'dhrachdan diomhair a' tigh'nn os iosal, 
'Se rinn an diobhail a thainig oirnn. 

Na. 'm biodh Clann Dbmhnuill air tigh'nn 'nar pdirt, 

Na fir mh6ra bu mbath 's a' spairn, 

Bu reiteach Rosaich a's Rothaich c6mhla, 

A' tigh'nn 'nar c6dhail a dh'iarraidh baigh. 

In connection with the " Four Johns," it may be interesting to 
give the following song. It was sent to me some time ago by my 
friend Mr. F. D. Macdonell, and I cannot do better here than give 
his own preface to it : 


Tha cuid ann am beachd gur e duin' uasal a bha anabarrach 
fileanta ris an cainte "D6mhnull Aladail" a riun an t-6ran so, 
ach fhuair mi dearbhaidhean do-aicheadh gur e b' ughdar d' a 
Coinneach roimh ainmichte, tuathanach a bh' anns an Achamhor 'an 
Lochaillse. 'Se theirte ris gu cumanta " Coinneach mac Iain 'ic 
lomhair." B' e 'athair Iain Uchdarlre, fear a " Cheathrar lainean 
na h-Alba, " 's a mharbhadh ann am Blar Sliabh an t-Siorraimh, 's a 
bhliadhna 1715, 's e 'n a Mhaidsear ann an arm Mhic-Coinnich. 
Bha e comharraichte 's na Garbh-Chriochan air son a mhor neart 
agus ailleachd a phearsa. Bha Coinneach fein 'n a dhuine ro chalma, 
mar dh' fhaodair a dhearbhadh eadhon air an latha 'n diugh, le 
clach a thog 's a charaich e ann an garadh bha e fein 's a nabuidhean 
a deanamh ann an Gleann-Udulain, 's bha i air a comharrachadh 
riamh o'n uair sin mar iongantas, 's o chionn bheagan bhliadnachan 
bha i air a toirt le Dughall Mac-Mhathain, seana bhodach-fleasgaich 
a b' iar-ogha dha gu ruig Ard-deilbhe far am faicear i air bruaich 
ri taobh an rathaid mhoir. Faodaidh mi innseadh gu'm bi 'm 
boirionnach do 'n d' rinn e 'n t-6ran so piuthar mo shin-seana- 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio- 121 

Chorus Hu-o h6 mo chailin laghach, 

'S tu mo chailin seadhach, ciuin, 
Hu-o h6 mo chailin laghach, 

'S tu mo roghainn, thaghainn 

lubhrach bhuadhach o na choille, 

Dhionaich, dhuallaich, dhiongmhalt dhluith 

Ghniomhaich, ghuaillnich, gun bhi corrach, 
Theireadh ceud mo leannan thu. 
Hu-o h6, &e. 

'S tu mo chailin 6g, deas, dealbhach, 

'S barail learn nach meanbh do chliu, 
Meangan ur o'n fhaillean ainmeil, 

Toradh a" preas tarbhach thii. 
Hu-o h.6, &c. 

'S ionmhuinn 'eucag nan rosg mala, 

'Thairg i fein mar sholus dhuinn, 
'S inairg a threigeadh tu dha aindeoin, 

'S ^ibhinn do 'n ti 'mhealas tu. 
Hu-o h.6, &c. 

'S binn a' sme6rach anns an doire, 

'S binn an eala 'n cois a' 16in, 
'S binne na sin guth mo leannain, 

'N uair a theannas i ri ce61. 
Hu-o h.6, &c. 

'S soilleir daoimein ann am fainne, 

'S soilleir tulach ard air 16n, 
'S soilleir riomhainn ann a' rioghachd, 

Aig mo nionaig se tha 'n c6rr. 
Hu-o h6, &c. 

'S soilleir long mh6r fo 'cuid aodaich, 

'S i cur sgaoilidh fo 'cuid se61, 
'S soilleir an lath' seach an oidhche, 

'S aig mho mhaighdinn fhin tha 'n c6rr. 
Hu-o h6, &c. 

122 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

'Ghiag shlat iir a's ailte sealladh, 

Miar dheth 'n chraoibh a's molaich rusg, 

'Ghiag a dh-fhas gu reidh fo dhuilleach 
'N te do 'n tug mi gealladh thu. 
Hu-o h6, &c. 

Suil a 's guirme, gruaidh a's deirge, 
Beul a's cuimte m' an deud dhluith, 

'S tu nach mealladh mi 'n am earbsa, 
Ciod e fath nach leanmhuinn thu. 
Hu-o h6, &c. 

The following song has not, to my knowledge, been written or 
printed anywhere. I have heard it sung with great spirit at many 
a gathering in the West Highlands, but have never heard it about 
Inverness. It is unnecessary to discuss the doctrine which the 
poet teaches us ; but although we may be unanimously against it, 
I think the song is well worthy of preservation, as an excellent 
specimen of its kind : 

An t-uisge beatha, fear mo chridhe, 
Thig as lion an stop a rithisd 
'S binne learn na piob a's fiodhall 
D' fhuaim a' tighinn thun a' bhord, 
D' fhuaim a' tighinn thun a' bhord, 
B'annsa learn na piob a's clarsach 
'.Nuair thig d'fhaileadh fo mo shr6in. 

Chorus Cha sguir mise 'm bliadhna 'dh-ol 
Cha sguir mise 'm bliadhna 'dh-ol 
Cha sguir mi 'ghoraich am feasda 
Fhad 's bhios leth-chrun 'na mo phoc, 
Cha sguir mise 'm bliadhna 'dh-ol. 

Am fear nach ol 's nach iarr 's nach paidh e, 

'S olc an companach do chach e, 

Guidheam goirt a bhi na fhardaich 

Gus an cairear e fho'n fhoid, 

Gus an cairear e fo'n fhoid, 

Gus an cairear anns an uaigh e, 

'S am b6rd-uachdair air a shroin ! 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 123 

'N uair a bhios mo chloinn-sa 'caoineadh 
'S an t-ocras a' diogladh an caolain, 
'.N uair bhios mise fo na 'n daoraich 
Cha bhi cuimhn' air glaodh nam br6n, 
Cha bhi cuimhn' air glaodh nam br6n, 
Cha bhi cuimhn' air glaodh nan truaghan, 
'S och mo thruaighe cha b'e choir. 

Na bodaich, ged chrbm an aois iad, 
A's an cinn cho geal ri caora, 
'Nuair a gheibh iad Ian an taomain, 
Leumaidh iad gu h-aotrom og, 
Leumaidh iad gu h-aotrom og, 
Leumaidh iad gu h-aotrom uallach 
Cheart cho guanach ris na h-eoin. 

Am fear a dh' iarr 'sa dh'ol 'sa phaigh e, 

'S math an companach do chach e, 

Gheibh e cliu am measg nan Gaidheal, 

'S bi' e riaraichte ri 'bheo, 

Bi' e riaraichte ri 'bheo, 

Bi' e riaraichte am feasda, 

'S cha tig easbhuidh air a ph6c. 

Mac-na-Bracha 'n t-oigear uasal, 
'S ioma rum as aite fhuair e, 
Cuiridh e braithrean a thuasaid, 
Dh'fhiachainn co 's cruaidhe dorn, 
Dh'fhiachainn co 's cruaidhe dorn, 
Dh'fhiachainn co 's cruaidhe rudan, 
'S cha b'e siigradh bhi na'n coir. 

Gu'm beil anail Horn cho cubhraidh, 
'S a tha faileadh nan ubhlan, 
Fhad 'sa mheallas sinn do shugradh, 
Ciod e chuireadh curam oirn ? 
Ciod e chuireadh curam oirn 1 
Curam cha 'n eil oirn no gruaimean, 
'S glaodhaidh sinn a nuas an stop. 

I will conclude these " Leaves" for the present by quoting some 
Highland spells Eblais. We all know of the belief our ancestors 
had in the efficacy of their spells. There was Eblas an deididh, 

124 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Eblas air sgiuchadh feith, Eblas an tairbhein, &c., all of which were 
believed to possess great virtues. A peculiarity about them was 
that persons of the same sex should not learn them from one an- 
other ; and in order to be efficacious, a man must learn the eblas 
from a woman, and a woman from a man. I will, in the first place, 
give you Eblas air greim mionaich. 

Greim Mionaich was no uncommon complaint in the Highlands, 
and where is the Highland boy who had never a greim or " stitch" 
in his side after a long and difficult race ? The Eblas which I am 
about to give you used to be said in such cases an ainm an Athar, 
a' Mhic 's an Spioraid Naoimh. I learned it when a boy in my native 
parish from a decent old woman, who, as she confided to me the 
secret, stroked my hair, and affectionately addressed me " Uilleam 
a laoigli, ionnsaichidh mis' eblas dut" and the Eblas she taught me 
is subjoined. It was given, she said, by the Slanaighear fhein 
'nuair a bha e air an talamh. Jesus, she added in sad and solemn 
tones, having had to escape for his life from the Jews, entered a 
house and sought refuge. Fear-an-tighe, or the goodman of the 
house, did not believe in him, and would at any time join the Jews 
in putting him to death.. He, however, was not in when Jesus ar- 
rived ; but he met him outside, and received him very grimly. 
Jesus, notwithstanding, went into the house and found Bean-an- 
tighe, or the good wife in. She had great faith in him, and gave 
him food and shelter. Knowing her husband's antagonism to him, 
she thought it necessary to conceal him from him. One end of the 
house was used as a byre, and it so happened that the byre had 
just been cleaned mucked. The good woman bestrewed the bot- 
tom of the carcair with calg d Un, and Jesus lay down on it. She 
then covered him over with the same material, and thus he escaped 
the search of his foes. Before leaving he wished to recompense the 
good woman for her kindness to him, but he had nothing to give, 
except the following Eblas, by which suffering humanity might be 
occasionally relieved, and her kindness and his safety amid great 
tribulation commemorated. The person suffering from the greim 
mionaich would have to rub the afflicted part, and as he did so, to 
repeat the words of the E61as, which were as follows : 

An ainm an Athar, a' Mhic, 's an Spioraid Naoimh ; 

Duine fiat a muigh, 

Bean fhial a stigh, 

Criosd 'na laidh air calg a' lln 

'S math an leigheas air an t-seilg sin. 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 125 

Let me now give you the " Eblas air sgiuchadh feith," or 
Eblas air sniomh, as it is sometimes called. When a man sprained 
a joint, he was to consult a woman who knew the E61as (and when 
a similar mishap befell a woman, she was to consult a man) it 
being necessary to give some gift, however small in value, to the 
person consulted. The mode of treatment was thus : The skilled 
person would put a thread (usually a worsted one) into his or her 
mouth, and then repeated the E61as in low and solemn tones. The 
thread was then tied round the injured part, and would be left on 
until it broke off itself, through tear and wear. The Eolas was in 
these terms : 

Chaidh Criosda mach 

'Sa' mhaduinn mhoich, 

'S fhuair e casan nan each, 

Air am bristeadh mu seach. 

Chuir e cnaimh ri cnaimh, 

Agus feith ri feith, 

Agus fe6il ri fe6il, 

Agus craicionn ri craicionn, 

'S mar leighis esan sin 

Gu'n leighis mise so.* 

Let me now give you Eblas an deididh, and let me hope it will 
be found of value to any member of this Society who may occasion- 
ally be troubled with toothache. You all know Di-moladh an 
deididh by William Eoss, but Eolas an deidioh is not quite so 
common. It was as follows : 

Seachd paidir a h-aon, 
Seachd paidir a dha, 
Seachd paidir a tri, 
Seachd paidir a ceithear, 

* This mode of treatment forcibly reminds one of the manner in which 
Panurge joined Epistemon's head to his body in restoring him to life. Of the 
account of that wonderful work I quote the following : Apres les oignit de je ne 
s<jai quel oignement, et les afusta justement veine centre veine, nerf centre nerf, 
spondyle contre spondyle," &c. Vide Rabelais, Book II., Chap. 30. 
The following is another version of Eblas air SniomA : 

Paidir Mhoire h-aon, 

Paidir Mhoire dha, 

Paidir Mhoire tri 

Chaidh Criosd air muin as 

'S thug e sniomh dha chas, 

'S mu'n d' rainig e 'n lar 

Bha e slan air ais. 

126 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Seachd paidir a coig, 
Seachd paidir a sia, 
Seachd paidir a seachd. 

An orra rinn Muire mhin, 

Do Phadruig uasal aluinn, 

Air chnoidh, air cheann, air chinn, 

Air ruaidh, air at, air arnun. 

Thuirt Abraham ri losa Criosd 

'S iad a falbh air sliabh Bheitris, 

"Cha'n urrainn mise coiseachd 

No mairceachd leis an deideadh." 

Thuirt losa Criosd ri Abraham, 

" Cha bhi chnoidh sin anns a cheann sin : 

' Mach an deideadh, niach an deideadh.' " 

Da uair an deigh cheile. 

" Fios air neamh a's fios air talamh, 

Fios aig do righ air do ghalar ; 

Cnoidh a's deideadh chuir fo'n talamh, 

Seachd paidir a h-aon, 
Seachd paidir a dha, 
Seachd paidir a tri, 
Seachd paidir a ceithear, 
Seachd paidir a coig, 
Seachd paidir a sia, 
Seachd paidir a seachd. 

'Neart nan seachd paidir 

Einn, Muire mhor, a Dhe nan dul, 

Do'n chleireach naomh, cuir do dhonas a's do dholas. 

Air a' chlach ghlas ud thall, 

'S air buidheann na h-eucorach ! " 

I will now give you the Eblas to cure one suffering from the 
effects of an " Evil Eye." The modus operandi was thus : Coins 
of gold, silver, and copper would be put into a basin full of water. 
The skilled one would repeat the Eblas, and in doing so, would 
bend over the basin, at the same time blowing the water with his 
breath. The water uisg 1 bir, or uisg' airgid as it might be called 
would then be sprinkled on the suffering one. The E61as is as 
follows : 

'S e 'n t-suil a chl, 

'S e 'n cridhe 'smuanaicheas, 

Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 127 

'S e 'n teanga 'labhras. 
'S mise 'n triuir 'tha gu tilleadh so ortsa 
[Here the name of the person to be cured is said.] 
An ainm an Athar, a' Mhic, 's an Spioraid Naoimh. 

I did not get a name for the following Eolas, but the purpose 
of it was to make physical objects invisible to ordinary eyes. It 
was believed to be of great service to hunters who, by its aid, could 
come home laden with game from the forests, yet no one could see 
that they had anything ! This precious spell was as follows : 

Fa fithe cuiream ort 

Bho chu, bho chat, 

Bho bh.6, bho each, 

Bho dhuine, bho bhean, 

Bho ghille, bho nighean, 

'S bho leanabh beag 

Gus an tig mise rithisd, 

An ainm an Athar, a' Mhic, 's an Spioraid Naoirnh. 

The next spell is called Eolas air Sealmachas. It is well known 
that many Highland cows refuse to give milk on all occasions, and 
they are particularly difficult to manage after their calves are taken 
from them. The Eolas air Sealmachas was to cause them to give 
milk when required, and for that purpose the dairymaid repeated 
it as follows : 

An t-E61as a rinn Calum Cille 

'Dh-aona bho na caillich 

Air thabhairt a' bhainne 

'N deigh marbhadh a laoigh, 

Bho fheithean a droma 

Gu feithean a tarra, 

'S bho fheithean a tarra 

Gu feithean a taobh 

Bho bhun a da chluaise 

Gu smuais a da leise 

Air thabhairt a bhainne 

Air 'mharbhadh d' a laogh. 

I will conclude with Eolas an tairlhein. It is as follows : 

An t- Eolas a rinn' Calum Cille 
'Dh-aona mhart na caillich 

128 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Bha cas Chalum Chille 'sa' churachan 

'S a chas eil' air tir 

" A thairbhein a thainig thar chuan 

'S o bhun na talmhainn fada thall 

Air mhial, air bhalg 

Air ghalar dearg. 

A lughdachadh do bhuilge, 

'S a mharbhadh do mhial, 

A mharbhadh fiolan fionn, 

A mharbhadh fiolan donn, 

A mharbhadh biast do leann, 

A mharbhadh an tairbhean, 

Gu'm faigh thu leasachadh 

Aghachain tog do cheann." 

HTH MAT, 1879. 

At this meeting, Sheriff Nicolson, Kirkcudbright, and Mr. 
Charles Macbean, 42 Union Street, Inverness, were elected ordi- 
nary members. Mr. John Mackay, of Ben Reay, read the first 
part of a paper by him on Mackay 's Regiment. 

21sT MAY, 1879. 

At this meeting, Rev. Alexander Cameron, Glengarry ; Mr. 
James Grant, M.A., Register House, Edinburgh ; and Mr. William 
Fraser, Assistant Draper, Castle Street, Inverness, were elected 
ordinary members ; and the reading of the paper on Mackay's 
Regiment, begun last week, was concluded. Mr. Mackay's paper 
was as follows : 


A narrative of the principal services of the Regiment, from its 
formation in 1626, to the battle of Nordlingen, in 1634 ; 
and of its subsequent incorporation with the Corps now 
known as The Royal Scots or First Regiment of Foot of the 
British Army. 


When King James VI. of Scotland became also King of 
England, there followed a lengthened period of peace and quiet- 
ness throughout the two kingdoms, which was in striking contrast 

Mackay's Regiment 129 

to the warlike and unsettled state of affairs that preceded his reign. 
For men brought up to arms there was little or nothing to do in 
their profession at home, and, as they could not remain idle, they 
looked abroad for military employment. Vast numbers of brave 
and adventurous men accordingly left Scotland in search of fame 
and fortune, and took service under the banners of the various 
princes who were then warring for supremacy on the continent of 
Europe. There was soon plenty to do. Strong hands and stout 
hearts were wanted ; for, before the first quarter of the seventeenth 
century had passed, a fierce war was raging, which convulsed the 
whole of Europe. This was the long and terrible struggle, now 
known in history as the thirty years 1 war. That war had begun 
by the Elector Palatine (Frederick IV.) accepting the crown of 
Bohemia, offered to him by the protestants of that country, who 
were then in the ascendant, and trying to carry everything with 
a high hand. The Elector had married the Princess Elizabeth 
Stuart, daughter of King James VI. of Scotland ; and many Scottish 
cavaliers, afterwards found fighting on the side which became identi- 
fied as that for the preservation of civil and religious liberty, had 
joined in the struggle, simply because the Princess was looked upon 
as one of themselves. This explains how such leaders as Sir 
Andrew Gray and Sir John Hepburn, and other Eoman Catholic 
gentlemen were found in the protestant ranks. It was the principle 
of loyal devotion to then- King's daughter that led them to enter 
the struggle, and not any preference for the Elector rather than 
the Emperor, for the interests of both rulers were alike indifferent 
to them. The accepting of the crown of Bohemia by the Elector, 
led the Emperor of Austria to oppose his claim. Both had their 
friends and allies, and in a short time the whole of Germany was 
involved in the struggle. 

Prominent among the military adventurers of the time was Sir 
Donald Mackay. He was born in 1590, had been knighted by 
King James in 1616, and was just in the prime of life, when, early 
in 1626, he left his home in the far North and proceeded to London 
to request permission from King Charles I. to raise a regiment for 
service abroad. His object, as he informed the King, was to assist 
Count Mansfeldt, the leader of the Bohemian army, in the war he 
was then waging on behalf of the Elector against Austria. The 
King favoured his project, and instructed the Privy Council to 
grant his request. The requisite commission was issued on 6th 
March, and in it Sir Donald was authorised to levy and transport 
2000 men for the purpose named. He then returned to Scotland, 
and in a short time nearly 3000 men, levied almost entirely among 


130 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

his own clan and kinsmen, were ready to follow him on foreign 
service. The regiment was thus easily raised.* It consisted of 
eleven companies ; but as no muster roll of the regiment, so far 
as I know, is now in existence, and as a company in those days 
numbered from 150 to 300 men, I have not been able to ascertain 
its strength when it left Scotland. Sir Eobert Gordon, in his 
History, states that he saw the greater part of the levies (that is 
the 3000 men above-mentioned) embark at Cromarty for the Conti- 
nent. Grant, again, in his Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn, gives 
the strength of the regiment as only 1500 men, but he adduces no 
authority for the statement. Munro, however, in his Expedition, 
which is the best authority extant on the history of the regiment, 
gives certain returns, from which it is evident that the number must 
have been at least 2000. 

No regiment of modern times can show a list of officers t 
superior to those selected by Sir Donald Mackay. Most of them 
were of good families and position, and better men could not 
be found. Even among the non-commissioned officers and privates, 
there were many gentlemen's sons, and Munro of Fowlis joined as 
a volunteer. J 

According to the military system of the time, the Eegiment 

*Lord Forbes (Sir Donald' cousin) furnished 800 of the men ; but it would be 
a mistake to suppose that the Regiment was entirely composed of volunteers, for 
in the Privy Council Records for 22nd August, 1626, it is ordered that Robert 
Abrach M'Gregor and others, who were prisoners in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, 
were to be delivered to Sir Donald Mackay to serve in his Regiment. " In the 
ranks," says Chambers (Domestic Annals of Scotland, vol. II., p 10), "were in- 
cluded a small band of Macgregors, who had been lying for some time in the 
Tolbooth of Edinburgh, on account of their irregularities, and who are said to 
have proved good soldiers under regular discipline, and with a legitimate outlet 
for their inherent turbulence and courage." 

t See list of officers at the end of this paper. 

J After serving in Mackay's Regiment for some time as a volunteer, so as to 
see service and obtain experience, Fowlis returned to Scotland, and raised a 
company among his own clansmen. "With these he again joined Mackay's Regi- 
ment as a Captain. He afterwards became a Colonel in the army of Gustavus. 
The author of the Expedition writes as follows : " My Chief e and Cosen, the 
Baron of Fowles, being in his travels in France a little prodigall in his spending, 
redacted his estate to a weake point, being advised by his friends timely io looke 
to the wounds of his house and family, and to forsee the best cure to keep bur- 
then off his estate, having engaged his Revenewes for teene years, to pay his 
Creditors, he went beyond sea a volunteer to Germanic with Mac-Keyes Regi- 
ment, well accompanyed with a part of his nearest friends ; and having the 
patience to attend his fortune, his first employment was to be a Captaine of a 
company of Scots souldiers, leavied by himselfe, and thereafter advanced to be 
a Colonell of horse and foot of strangers, under the invincible King of Sweden 
of worthy memorie. 

"Thus farre of the Ban-on of Fowles ... to animate other Cavaliers 
borne of lesse fortunes to follow his vertues in being patient, though their pre- 
ferments come not at first, loving vertue for her end." 

Mackay's Regiment 131 

consisted of pikemen and musketeers ; and taking the proportions 
usual in those days, Mackay's force, if 2000 strong, would he made 
up of ahout 800 of the former, and 1200 of the latter. The strongest 
men were always selected to handle the pike, which was a spear 
14 to 18 feet long, and in the hands of trained powerful men, 
must have "been a most formidable weapon. The pikemen carried 
swords in addition to their pikes. The musketeers had matchlock 
muskets, swords, and daggers ; and every soldier was usually pro- 
tected by a helmet, gorget, buff coat, and breastplate. Such was 
the ordinary military equipment of the period. 

But in what uniform did Sir Donald Mackay's men appear ? 
Although Munro in his Expedition does not say anything on the 
subject, I think I am safe in assuming that the kilt was the great 
distinguishing dress of the Regiment. Grant, in his Memoirs of 
Sir John Hepburn, makes frequent mention of " Mackay's Kilted 
Highlanders ; " and in Philip Hollo he thus describes the Regi- 
ment : " The whole were uniformly accoutred in steel caps and 
buff coats, the officers being fully armed in bright plate to the waist, 
and having plumes in their head-pieces ; their kilts were of dark 
green tartan, and belted up to the left shoulder, according to the 
custom of Highlanders when going on service. The musketeers 
carried their powder in bandoliers ; and, in addition to his dirk, 
every officer and man wore the claymore or genuine old Highland 
sword, which could be used with both hands. Their purses were 
of white goatskin, and properly adorned with silver." " The offi- 
cers are said, in addition to rich buttons, to have worn a gold chain 
round the neck, to secure to the owners, in case of being taken 
prisoners, good treatment from the enemy, in hope of a lucrative 

* In the British Museum there is a collection of illustrated broadsides, prin- 
ted in Germany during the thirty years war. One of these prints (a copy of 
which is given in Mr. J. F. Campbell's Tales of the West Highlands, Vol. IV.) repre- 
sents four Highlanders. Three are dressed in the kilt, and one in something like 
a kilt, so tied in at the knees as to resemble knickerbockers. One of the three 
has the belted plaid, brogues, and mogans ; while another has no covering for his 
legs and feet. Two are armed with bows and arrows, one has a musket, and the. 
fourth a staff in his hand, which may, perhaps, be intended for a pike. Surround- 
ing the print there is the following in German : " The 800 foreigners who have 
arrived in Stettin, go about in such garments. They are a strong and hardy race, 
and subsist upon very little food. When they have no bread they will eat roots ; 
and in an emergency they can go over 20 German miles [70 English miles] in a 
day. They carry muskets, bows and arrows, and long knives." The words I have 
trap slated foreigners (in the original Irrlander oder Irren), mean literally Irish- 
men or Wanderers. If the words are taken as meaning Irish, then the inference 
is that some of the Lowland Scotch soldiers (of whom there were many then in 
Germany), on being asked who those foreigners were in the strange dress, replied 
that they were Erse or Erish, a name in that day commonly given to High- 

132 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

The flags of the Eegiment were the national ensign of Scotland, 
and the banner of Sir Donald Mackay. 

All arrangements being completed, the whole force assembled at 
Cromarty, where ships were in waiting to convey them to the Con- 
tinent. Many of the men exhibited a strength and a stature such 
as can seldom be seen now-a-days ; and Sir Donald's own company 
(the " gentlemen of the Colonells company," as Munro describes 
them) consisted of picked men, chiefly, it is said, from the districts 
of Strath Naver and Strath Halladale.* 

It must have been a glorious sight to witness the entry of the 
brave and gallant band into Cromarty. They were the flower of 
Duthaich Mhic-Aoidh, the country of the Mackay s. Marching in 
sections, six abreast, we can easily imagine how, with colours flying, 
pipes playing, and drums beating, they would approach the town. 
The burnished musket barrels and tall pikes, the glittering helmets 
and polished breastplates, the nodding plumes and flashing steel, 
the measured tread of so many feet, and the regular motion and 
waving of the tartan, must have excited a sense of emotion and 
enthusiasm in the minds of all who beheld them, never to be for- 
gotten ; for assuredly no finer or braver men ever left their 
country for a foreign war. 

On the 10th October, 1626, the fleet set sail, and, after a 
passage of five days, arrived safely at Gluckstadt, on the Elbe. 
Here the Eegiment disembarked, and immediately after landing 
(I quote from Monro, his Expedition^) " was quartered in the fat 

landers by the inhabitants of the south and west of Scotland. Or, if the word 
"Wanderers is taken (Irren, in old German, meaning literally to wander or lose 
one's way), then the reference may be to the fact, that the soldiers having come 
from a distant country, they could, with all propriety, be called Wanderers. 

But one thing is certain, the whole of Mackay's Regiment was in Stettin in 
1630, and the print is probably intended to let the Germans see what sort of men 
Highland soldiers were. Even if there were no other evidence, it establishes the 
fact that the kilt was the uniform of the Regiment. Mackay's was thus the first 
regularly organised regiment of which we have any record, that was dressed in THE 

* The men of Strath Naver and Strath Halladale were long celebrated for 
their extraordinary size and soldierly bearing. Even so late as the beginning of 
the present century, when the 93rd Regiment was formed, the men in it, who 
were drawn to a great extent from these districts, showed not only by their size 
and strength, but, above all, by their high moral character, that they were no 
unworthy successors of those who distinguished themselves so gallantly during 
the thirty years' war. 

If, however, we wish to see the descendants of these truly noble men, we 
must unfortunately not look for them now in the land of their fathers. Owing 
to the mistaken policy, known as the Clearances, they are to be found chiefly in 
Canada not in Scotland. 

Mac-Keyes Regiment), levied in August, 1626, by Sir Donald Mac-Key, Lord 
Mhees Colonell, for his Majesties service of Denmark," &c. London, 1637. 

Mackay's Regiment 133 

and fertile soyle of Holsten, nothing inferiour in fertilitie to any 
part of Dutchland, except in wines, having come in abundance, 
wheat and barly ; in milke nothing inferiour to Holland ; and for 
the most part inhabited by Hollanders, especially the Cities. Their 
Gentry live like Noblemen, and their Communaltie live like Gentle- 
men." They remained in Holstein about six months, and, from 
Munro's account, seem to have had very comfortable winter quarters. 
Sir Donald, owing to sickness, had not been able to embark 
with his men, but on his recovery, Munro tells us " he tooke shipping 
from Scotland to Holland, and from thence overland " to join them. 
He "arrived in the latter end of March, anno 1627, in Holsten, 
where he was welcomed by his Regiment."* 


I have mentioned that the Kegiment was raised for the purpose 
of assisting Count Mansfeldt, the leader of the Bohemian army, 
in the war against Austria. Owing, however, to the death of that 
general, it became necessary to make other arrangements for the 
service of the Highlanders. These were soon completed by Sir 
Donald, who entered into an agreement with the King of Denmark 
to fight under his banner. This was a natural step to take, for the 
Danish King had embarked in the same cause as Count Mansfeldt, 
and besides, he was uncle to King Charles I. and the Princess 
Elizabeth, and thus service under him was quite in harmony with 
the feelings of the Scottish soldiers and their leaders. 

" During the tedious winter the Regiment was " in Holstein, says 
Munro, it was " well exercised and put under good discipline, as 
well the particular companies as the whole Regiment, so that mine 

* Among those who accompanied Sir Donald, mention must be made of Mr. 
(afterwards Sir) Robert Farquhar of Mounie. He seems to have acted as purse- 
bearer or paymast er, and in his Papers there is a statement of the money he 
disbursed in Scotland and Holland for Sir Donald, between 2nd January and 
22nd March, 1627. The piiucipal entries are for wines and other drinkables, and 
some of the items are rather curious. On embarking at Leith, there is paid " for 
ane rubber of Frensche wyne 21. 12/ . . . Our supper in Bremmell 13 of 
Februar 8. 2/. Payit seing the Kirk thair 4/, drink silver 8/. Payit seing the 
Kirk and stepill of Dort 12/. Payit in syned-hous for wyne and breid thair 12/. 
Our supper in Rotterdam 15 of Februar 6j. Drink silver thair, and f or beir, 
succar, and nutmuggs 14/. . . . For ane new sword to his Lordship in Amster- 
dam 15/. Payit for mending and washing the Colonell's blew wastcot in Amster- 
dam 18/." 

Farquhar 's papers are at Gordonstown, where they are preserved with the 
extensive and interesting collection bearing on the history of the North of Scot- 
land during the Seventeenth Century, belonging to Sir W. G. Gordon Gumming, 
Bart. (Sixth Report of Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, p. 686.) 

134 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

eyes," he adds, " did never see a more complete Regiment, for 
bodies of men and valiant souldiers." 

Before the arrival of Sir Donald, a hitch had occurred regard- 
ing the regimental colours, which, however, was settled without 
any breach of friendship between our countrymen and the Danes, 
although it is said to have rankled in the breast of the King. The 
case was this : His Majesty of Denmark " would have the officers 
to carry the Danes crosse, which the officers refusing they were 
summoned to compeare before His Majestie at Raynesberge, to know 
the reasons of their refusalls ; at the meeting none would adventure, 
fearing his Majesties indignation to gainestand openly his Majesties 
will, being then his Majesties sworne servants ; and for the eschew- 
ing of greater inconvenience, the officers desired so much time of 
his Majestie as to send Captaine Robert Ennis into England, to 
know his Majestie of Great Britaines will, whether or no they 
might carrie without reproach the Danes crosse in Scottish colours : 
Answer was returned they should obey their will under whose pay 
they were, in a matter so indifferent." The Danish Cross was 
accordingly borne as one of the flags ; but the Regiment did not 
give up the Scottish Cross of St. Andrew, but continued to carry 
it also. 

Immediately after the arrival of Sir Donald, orders were given 
that his Regiment should proceed to Itzehoe, to be inspected by 
the King of Denmark, and take the oath of fidelity to that sove- 

Munro describes the scene. " The Regiment being come to- 
gether at the Rendezvouz, was drawn up in three divisions, attend- 
ing his Majesties comming, in good order of battaile, all officers 
being placed according to their stations orderly, Colours fleeing, 
Druuimes beating, horses neying, his Majestie comes royally for- 
ward, Salutes the Regiment, and is saluted againe with all due 
respect, and reverence, used at such times ; his Majestie having 
viewed Front, Flancks and Reare, the Regiment fronting alwayes 
towards his Majestie, who having made a stand ordained the Regi- 
ment to march by him in divisions, which orderly done, and with 
great respect, and reverence, as became ; his Majestie being mightily 
well pleased did praise the Regiment, that ever thereafter was most 
praise worthy. The Colonell, and the principall officers having 
kissed his Majesties hand, retired to their former stations, till the 
oath was publikely given, both by officers and souldiers being 
drawne in a Ring by conversion, as use is at such times. The Oath 
finished, the Articles of Warres reade, and published, by a Banko 
of the Drummer Major, and his associates, the Regiment remitted, 

Mackay's Regiment 135 

marches off orderly by companies, to their quarters, to remaine till 
orders were given for their up-breaking." 

The next day Sir Donald received instructions to take seven 
companies of the Eegimeut across the Elbe. Two of these com- 
panies were to be left at Stade for the protection of that town, and 
Sir Donald was then to proceed with five companies towards the 
Weser, and join the English forces then in the service of Denmark. 
The English troops were under the command of General Morgan, 
a brave old Welshman, and an officer of considerable experience. 
The remaining four companies of the Regiment were to march to 
Lauenburg, as there was some apprehension that the Imperialists 
might cross the Elbe in that neighbourhood. The English troops 
were quartered near Bremen, and the five companies of Highlanders 
remained with them ten weeks, having " great dutie in watching, 
many alarummes, but little service," although the enemy was not 
far off. 

While encamped with General Morgan's forces, Mackay's 
soldiers felt it to be a grievance, and were naturally a little dis- 
contented that the English regiments should be getting regular 
weekly pay, whereas they were only being provided with rations 
of " bread, beere, and bacon." Sir Donald therefore left head- 
quarters and proceeded to Hamburg, to solicit money for the pay- 
ment of his officers and men.* Munro praises him for this, and 
makes the following observation : " It is a great part of a Colonells 
dutie timely to foresee for all things necessary that may give con- 
tent to those under his command, lest being justly discontented, 
he might be grieved, whiles it were not in his power to helpe him- 
selfe, or others. The liberality of a Colonell and his care in fore- 
seeing for his Eegiment, returnes to him oftimes with triple profit, 
being with moderation familiar with his officers, making them, as 
humble friends, not as servants, under command, and he ought by 
all means eschewe to come in question, or publique hearing with 
his officers : the onely means to make himselfe famous, and his 
Eegiment of long continuance." 

* In the Papers at Castle Forbes, there is a letter to Lord Forbes, endorsed 
"Letter from Sir Donald Makky, Colonell out off Germany, brocht hame be 
Mr. Robert Farquhar, burgess off Aberdein, 1627," which shows that although 
Sir Donald was not a mercenary soldier, yet he was not inclined to continue 
with the King of Denmark, unless he was paid for the services of his Regiment. 
The letter is dated from the leaguer at Wasterbad, 12th June, 1627, and evi- 
dently refers to the visit made to Hamburg above referred to. It "contains 
some curious details of the position of the King's army and that of his opponents," 
and Sir Donald, after commenting on the small pay given by the King, adds, 
" bot iff he opines not his pourss I will sik ane uther maister ; the King of Speen 
is ane treu man and ane good payer." (Second Report of Royal Commission on 
Historical Manuscripts, p. 195.) 

136 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

At the end of ten weeks, orders were received by Sir Donald 
to march with his men to Boitzenburg, there to join the four com- 
panies which had been sent to Lauenburg, but which had been 
moved from the latter to the former town. They left General 
Morgan on the 10th July, 1627, accompanied by a regiment of 
cavalry as their convoy, and quartered the first night at Rotten- 
burg " a strong passe, having a great Marrish on both sides, acces- 
sible onely by one narrow causey, which leads through the marrish 
to the Castell, which is well fensed on both sides with Moates, 
Drawbridges, and slaught homes, without all." 

After several alarms, without however coming to an engage- 
ment with the enemy, they arrived at Buxtehude, which had been 
appointed as their first rendezvous. Instructions were given to 
continue the march by way of Hamburg and Lauenburg, and to 
take up quarters at Boitzenburg, where they were to remain for 
further orders. The reason for this change of quarters is thus 
given by Munro. " All marches are occasioned by the accidents 
of the warfare. The reason of this march was the enemie's Army 
drawing strong to a head in Lunniburgli land, of intention to force 
a passage over the Elve to come the easier to Holsten : his Majestic 
being weake of foote in this quarter, having no great feare of his 
enemie on the Waser, where we lay before ; we were therefore 
called to joyne with the rest of our Regiment at Bysenburgh. 
Another reason of this march was, the King's force in Silesia being 
also weake of Foote, standing in great neede of a timely supply, 
we being able to endure a long march, his Majestie resolved, after 
besetting well the passe on the Elve, to send us for a supply unto 
the Silesian Armie : Nevertheless many times we see in warres, 
though things be long advised on, and prosecuted after advise duely, 
yet the advent doth not alwayes answer to mans conjectures : For 
it is a true old saying, Man proposeth, but God disposeth." 

At Boitzenburgh they had a happy meeting with their comrades, 
but they were not destined to be long together. In a few days 
orders were received that the Regiment must again separate. The 
Colonel and Lieutenant-Colonel, with seven companies, were in- 
structed to march to Ruppin in Brandenburg ; while four com- 
panies, under the command of Major Dunbar, were to remain for 
the defence of Boitzenburg. 

Sir Donald was very much disappointed that the King should 
again have ordered the Regiment to be divided without his con- 
sent. The officers and men also grumbled at the arrangement, 
but, nevertheless, they faithfully obeyed orders. Two reasons have 
been assigned for this action on the part of the King : first, the 

Mackoy's Regiment, 137 

refusal of the officers to give up the Scottish Colours, which, it is 
reported, angered him, and led to his ordering the Eegiment to 
posts of the greatest danger ; and second, a dispute which Sir 
Donald had with him about the cashiering of some of the officers 
for alleged inefficiency. The King insisted on having his own way, 
notwithstanding all Sir Donald could say on the subject. Two of 
the officers referred to were Captain Learmonth (brother of Lord 
Balcomy) and Captain Duncan Forbes, most efficient men, and 
highly esteemed by Sir Donald. 

Munro mentions that the parting between the two divisions of 
the Regiment was very affecting. There seemed to be a presenti- 
ment of impending evil, and Captain Learmonth, on taking leave 
of Sir Donald and other officers, " did with griefe in a manner 
foretell his owne fall, alleging they should never meet againe." 
The sequel proved the truth of the sad foreboding. 

Boitzenburg is a small town pleasantly situated at the junction 
of the Boitze and the Elbe, and being one of the leading highways 
into Denmark, its defence was of great importance. The inha- 
bitants, who feared the cruelties so frequently inflicted by the 
enemy, had all fled. A vast force of the Imperialists, under John 
de Tsercla, Count of Tilly, was approaching Denmark from the 
centre of Germany, and one of the columns was marching directly 
upon the point these four companies of Highlanders were ordered 
to defend. Tilly in early life was a Jesuit priest, but having seen 
the virgin in a vision, as he said, command ing him to take up arms 
in defence of the Church, he entered the army, and his talents and 
bravery soon won him a baton. He was undoubtedly an able 
general; but .he was cruel and uncompromising, and the horror, 
caused by his many deeds of atrocity carried terror wherever he 

It was on the third day after the departure of Sir Donald with 
the main portion of the Kegiment, that the approach of the enemy 
was announced. They came to a halt within cannon shot distance, 
and at once began preparations for the siege. 

But Major Dunbar had not been idle. He was well versed in 
the theory, as well as the sterner practice of war, and had every 
qualification for a commander. He left nothing undone that would 
enable him to defend his post like a man of honour. He under- 
mined the bridge, repaired the weak places in the walls, and erected 
a strong sconce on the Luneberg side of the town. This sconce the 
enemy resolved to storm. Once across the Elbe, the rich and 
fertile plains of Holstein could be easily overrun, and would be 
entirely at their mercy. 

138 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

The four companies of Highlanders numbered only about six 
hundred men, while the attacking force numbered at least ten 

The first night a gallant and successful sortie was made, under 
the personal leadership of Major Dunbar, and after inflicting a 
severe punishment on the advanced posts of the Imperialists, the 
little band returned to the town, with scarcely any loss. The 
enemy were determined to be avenged for this, and on the following 
day attacked the sconce at all points, but after a long and desperate 
struggle were beaten off, with a loss of over five hundred men. 
But fresh troops were pressed forward, and again the attack was 
renewed with increased fury ; the front rank rushed on, and with 
hatchets attempted to force a passage through the palisades ; then 
the artillery opened fire, and every now and then a heavy cannon 
shot would boom overhead, or crash among the roofs of the houses ; 
or, with a dull heavy thud, sink into the turf breastwork of the 
sconce. The defenders replied with their brass culverins, and every 
shot must have made a frightful lane through the dense column of 
attack. A close and deadly fire, too, was poured by the Highland 
musketeers upon the Imperialists, and though the latter replied 
with equal rapidity, yet they could not with equal effect, for the 
Highlanders were protected breast high, by the earthen parapets, 
while the assailants were wholly exposed. The whola fort was 
soon enveloped in smoke : the enemy could not be seen, but the 
crash of their axes was heard among the falling palisades, and the 
cries of the wounded told of the dreadful carnage. The Imperialists 
were baffled, and again fell back. But a third, and even more 
desperate attempt was made to carry the sconce. The, sconce, I may 
here remark, defended the bridge, and if captured, the Imperialist 
cavalry might have crossed the Elbe, and overrun Holstein before 
the king could have been informed that Boitzeuburg had fallen. 
The defenders felt that every effort would be strained by the 
enemy to carry the little fort by storm. If numbers could accom- 
plish this, its fall was certain. The storming parties came on in 
great force, and made a most vigorous assault ; but the firing of 
the Highland musketeers once more told with deadly effect. The 
thunder of the enemy's artillery was incessant, yet the shot did 
more damage to the houses of the deserted town than to the earth- 
works of the sconce. Again the culverins were brought into play, 
and, under Dunbar's directions, did dreadful execution on the 
Imperialists ; but, in spite of this, they continued to press on, and 
the gaps made in their ranks, by the well-directed fire of the 
Highlanders, were constantly and steadily filled up. The loss was 

Mackay's Regiment. 139 

not, however, all on the side of the enemy. Many of the defenders 
were killed, and a large number wounded. 

But after a tune the firing of the Highlanders slackened, and 
then suddenly ceased. Their supply of ammunition was exhausted ! 
The Imperialists surprised at the unexpected silence on the part of 
the defenders, instinctively guessed the cause, and redoubling their 
efforts made a rush at the walls.* The Highlanders, for a moment, 
were at their wits end ; but the energy of despair prompted them. 
They tore the sand from the ramparts, and throw it in the eyes of 
their assailants as they attempted to scale the walls ; and then 
furiously attacking them with the butt ends of their muskets, drove 
them from the sconce. But it was a dreadful struggle. At last the 
trumpets of the enemy sounded the retreat, the storming party fell 
back, the fire of the artillery ceased, and Boitzenburg was saved. 
The enemy had again over five hundred men killed, and . a very 
large number wounded. 

The Highlanders had two officers and forty men killed. The 
officers were Captain Learmonth,+ a good and brave soldier, and 
his Lieutenant, David Martin, " an old stout and expert officer," 
as Munro describes him ; " while," he adds, " many others carried 
the true markes of their valour imprinted in their bodies, for their 
Countrie's credit." 

The Imperialists finding Boitzenburg so well defended, decided 
on crossing the Elbe at another point. This they effected consider- 
ably higher up the river, where, coming unexpectedly, they sur- 
prised the German guard, and secured a passage across. In the 
meantime, the King of Denmark had sent orders to Major Dunbar 
to retire from the sconce, bring off his cannon, if he could, and 
blow up the bridge. He was then to leave two companies of the 
Highlanders at Lauenburg, and retire with the rest to Gluckstadt. 
All these orders he carried out in a masterly manner. 

This was the first opportunity the Mackay Regiment had of 
showing the quality of its men. Gallantly did they distinguish 
themselves, and nobly did they fulfil the hazardous task to which 
they had been detailed. It was a desperate position to defend, 
and looked like certain destruction to all. Their deeds showed 
what they were a band of Scottish Inmncibles.^. 

* Monro says " There was also a Scottish gentleman under the enemy, who 
coming to scale the walls, said aloud, Have with you, gentlemen, thinke not now 
you are on the streets of Edinburgh bravading : One of his owne country-men 
thrusting him through the body with n pike, he ended there." There were many 
Scotsmen in the service of the Imperialists. 

t See ante, page 137. 

J Gustavus Adolphus, when the Regiment was in his service, spoke of it as 
the Scottish Invintibles. 

140 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Munro was with the main division of the Regiment, but he 
writes " This Skonce so well maintained by our Countrymen is 
to their prayse recorded at length in the Dutch Story of the Danes 
Warres, where the curious Eeader may learn more of it. ... 
After this service the renowne spread so abroad, where ever we 
came, that the Gentrie of the Country were ready meeting us, pro- 
viding all necessaries for us. The Duke of Wymar, the Dukes of 
Medinburgh, with a number of gallant Ladies, did visit us in our 
march, to congratulate with us the good fortune, and good service, 
done by our Camerades. But if we should look to the outside of 
souldiers, these foure Companies were the meanest of our Eegiment 
to the outward appearance . . . For though, as I 
said, by appearance to looke but on their outsides, they were the 
meanest in show of our whole Regiment ; yet God that gives hearts, 
and courage unto men, made them the instruments of our Regiment's 
first credit in the warres of Germany. They were, I confesse, led 
by brave officers, which were seconded and obeyed by resolute and 
stout souldiers, that gained victory and credit, over their enemies, 
in extremitie, by casting sand in their eyes . . . shewing 
that sometimes the meanest things doe helpe us much against our 
enemies, especially when the LORD will blesse our fighting." 

The two companies, which were left by Major Dunbar for the 
defence of Lauenburg, were speedily besieged. Count Tilly sum- 
moned the small garrison to surrender, but Major Wilson, the 
officer in command, refused to comply with this demand. The 
enemy's batteries then opened fire on the castle, and after a brief 
cannonade, Major Wilson, seeing he could not hold his position, 
asked for a truce to arrange terms of surrender. This was granted, 
and conditions were agreed upon. These were, that the garrison 
should march out with bag and baggage, and drums beating, and 
that they should have a convoy to conduct them to Gluckstadt. 
Count Tilly had been severely wounded during the siege, or pro- 
bably he would not have agreed to such terms. Pledges having 
been given, the agreement was duly signed, but Major Wilson had 
not been careful as to details. On leaving the castle his colours 
were taken from him, and on his complaining of what he considered 
a breach of faith, he was told to read the agreement. He was then 
forced to march to Gluckstadt without colours. For this oversight 
he was dismissed from the Regiment with disgrace, and his com- 
mand given to Captain Duncan Forbes, one of the officers who had 
been cashiered by the King of Denmark. This showed that the 
King had committed a great mistake in acting as he did, for Major 
Wilson was one of the officers he had appointed over Captains 

Mackay's Regiment 141 

Learmonth and Forbes, to the annoyance of Sir Donald Mackay, 
as already mentioned. 

But there was no idle time for the Highlanders. Major Dun- 
bar and the four companies were at once ordered to defend the 
Castle of Bredenburg, for the enemy had now got a footing in 
Holstein, and were over-running the land, while the troops of 
King Christian were fast falling back before them. Bredenburg 
was the principal stronghold of the Counts of Eantzau, a noble 
and warlike family of Holstein ; and Dunbar was instructed that 
the castle was not to be surrendered on any condition. A large 
number of people had taken refuge in it, when the enemy first 
entered the land, and had carried with them a great amount of 
treasure. There was also stored in it much valuable property 
belonging to Count Kantzau. 

The little garrison sent to maintain this important place 
numbered only about four hundred men, for Boitzenburg and 
Lauenburg had thinned the ranks of the four companies of High- 
landers considerably. The castle was but poorly fortified, and the 
enemy came so suddenly upon it, that Dunbar had scarcely time 
to get the drawbridge pulled up, when Tilly and his forces sur- 
rounded the place. A trumpeter was- at once sent by Tilly with 
a summons, demanding an instant surrender. This, of course, 
Dunbar refused. The enemy immediately began a hot and vigor- 
ous siege, which lasted without intermission for six days. The 
defenders resisted bravely, and their shot told heavily on the ranks 
of the assailants. At length the enemy's guns made two breaches 
in the walls, and the Imperialists approached the moat. Tilly then 
sent a drummer to the Major to see if he would now surrender, but 
the drummer returned with the answer " that so long as there was 
blood in Dunbar's head, the place should never be given over." This 
answer so incensed Tilly, that he swore when once he got " the 
upper hand over them, they should all die without quarter." The 
defenders must have been very much exhausted after these six days 
of severe exertion, and there was no relief for them, while the 
enemy were able to send fresh men to the assault every few hours. 

Shortly after Dunbar's answer had been returned, the brave 
man was struck on the head by a musket ball, and instantly killed. 
But even though he was dead the other officers would not capitu- 
late, and the siege went on with renewed fury. Captain Duncan 
Forbes was the next officer to fall, then Lieutenant Barbour and 
Captain Carmichael. The enemy had now passed the moat, and 
getting possession of the castle, a wholesale massacre took place. 
All quarter was refused, and every one, without distinction of rank, 

142 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

age, or sex, was cruelly put to the sword. With the exception 
of Ensign Lumsden, who escaped almost miraculously, every officer 
and man of the Highland detachment was either killed while in 
the discharge of duty, or savagely butchered. Even their chaplain 
was put to death. On his knees he begged for life, but mercy was 
denied him. While, of the country people who had taken refuge 
in the castle, only a few were able to escape with their lives from 
the brutal soldiery. After the slaughter, search was made for 
Major Dunbar's body, which, having been found by the Imperialists, 
was barbarously mutilated. 

The enemy had above a thousand men killed before they took 
the castle. 

Munro, who received an account of these proceedings from Ensign 
Lumsden, gives a harrowing picture of what took place. " The 
whole court and lodgings running with blood, with which walles and 
pavements are sprinkled. . . . These cruell murderers did 
by their monstrous and prodigious massacre " show no " mercy to 
officer, souldier, or Preacher. . . . Was there greater perfidie 
in the world than was used here, willingly to harme the dead, and 
the innocent ? Eor to wrong an innocent Preacher was savage, 
beseeming a beast, not a man ; and to give a stabbe, as was done 
here, for the innocent smile of an Infant, was devillish blacke at 
the heart. . . . And I perswade my selfe, none but villanous 
persons, being Commanders, ever suffered the like to have been 
done without moderation." 

This terrible disaster left only the seven companies of the 
Regiment, with which, as I have already mentioned, Sir Donald 
had been ordered to march from Boitzenburg to Ruppin. At 
Ruppin, instructions were given by General Slamersdorff, who then 
commanded the King of Denmark's forces in that district, that 
after resting for eight days, the march was to be continued into 
Silesia, to join the Danish army in that territory. Within a week, 
however, the startling intelligence was received, that the Danish 
army in Silesia had been totally defeated, that the victors had 
pushed rapidly on and crossed the Elbe, and that their troops 
occupied all the passes leading into Holstein. To retreat by land 
and join the king's army was thus impossible, and as the Regiment 
could not remain where it was, orders were given to make for the 
island of Poe], near Wismar, on the Baltic, and wait there till 
shipping could be provided to carry them to Holstein. 

General Slamersdorff had appointed Perleburg, a small town on 
the Stepnitz, as the rendezvous for the remnants of the defeated 
army, and thither they marched with all haste. When mustered, 

Mackay's Regiment 143 

they numbered about ten thousand men of all arms. The General 
seems to have been very much frightened, for he marched the 
troops night and day until they got to Wismar, being naturally 
afraid that the enemy might get between him and the sea. The 
troops encamped about a mile from Wismar, and opposite the 
island of Poel. They made a drawbridge to the island, and forti- 
fied it with sconces and redoubts. It was harvest time, and being 
uncertain how long they might have to remain, they conveyed pro- 
visions and stores to the island, sufficient to last them all winter, 
should they be kept there so long. But they only remained five 
weeks. Munro says, that during this time they had " abundance 
of flesh and drinke " but were slightly provided of bread and salt 
a Souldier had but one pound of bread allowed him in 
ten dayes, if that he tooke it not off the field ; " that is, unless he 
went to the field and gathered there wheat or rye. The High- 
landers, he further adds, called their encampment "the flesh 
Leager, and justly, for the Souldiers were so cloyed with flesh, that 
Oxen flesh was let lie on the ground, the Hides taken off by the 
Souldiers and sold for a Can of Beere a Hide, the whole body left 
on the place untouched." Our countrymen, also, seemed to con- 
sider the sheep's head and trotters quite as favourite a dish then, 
as many do at the present time, for it is recorded of the soldiers, 
that at last they got " weary of mutton also, eating only the heads 
and feet, being boyld with wheat brought off the fields." One of 
the results of eating so much animal food without bread or salt, 
was the breaking out of a serious pestilence in the camp, of which 
many soldiers died ; " but of our nation fewest, for to speake 
truth," I again quote from Munro, " I never did see more durable 
men against all Toyle, travelle and tediousnesse, than they were." 
The people of Wismar behaved very discourteously to the officers 
and men of the defeated army, even the merchants being unwilling 
to sell them such articles as they desired to purchase. " Likewise 
I did observe first here," Munro further adds, " that the Townes of 
Germanic are best friends ever to the masters of the field, in flat- 
tering the victorious, and in persecuting the loser, which is ever well 
scene in all estates." 

At last arrangements were completed for transporting the army 
to Holstein. Ships arrived from Copenhagen, and the embarkation 
at once took place. General Slamersdorff was left with two 
thousand men to defend the island, while the Duke of Saxe- 
Weimar, with eight thousand horse and foot, sailed for Heilegen- 
haven, where the whole force was safely landed. The Highlanders 
were included in the eight thousand. 

144 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Immediately after landing, orders were given to march to 
Oldenburg, where it was hoped the Danish forces, if united with 
the eight thousand just landed, might be able to defeat Count 
Tilly, who was known to be advancing with an immense army, for 
the purpose of overrunning Holstein. The Pass of Oldenburg, 
through which the invading army must of necessity come, had, by 
some strange overlook on the part of the Danish generals, been 
left unfortified. The Highlanders, on arriving at the Pass, imme- 
diately set to work to make trenches, so as to secure it against the 
enemy. They worked all night, and next day till noon, when they 
discovered the Imperialists advancing in formidable numbers of 
horse and foot. Before three o'clock in the afternoon the latter 
had planted their 'cannon, and the Danish general being informed 
of this, orders were given to double the guards, barricade the pass ; 
and, during the night, cast up a redoubt before it. 

By day light the next morning the battle began the enemy 
trying to force the pass, the Danish army to keep it. The fighting 
was mainly confined to the cavalry. At last the Danish soldiers 
began to give way, when the General commanded Sir Donald, " in 
all haste . . to march with the halfe of his Regiment to main- 
taine the passe." The General asked the Highlanders, as Sir 
Donald was leading them on, if they went on with courage. This 
being interpreted to the men, they, " shouting for joy, cast off their 
hats, rejoicing in their march, seeming glad of the occasion." Then, 
commending their courage and resolution, the General blessed them, 
and passed on. As the Highlanders advanced, the enemy's cannon 
played continuously upon them, and their colours were torn in 
pieces. Lieutenant Hugh Eoss was the first that felt the smart of 
the cannon ball. He was shot in the leg, and falling, called out 
courageously, " Go on bravely, comrades, I wish I had a Treene 
(i.e. a wooden leg) for your sakes." As they drew near the Pass, 
the Germans [Holsteineers] that were on service had all fled except 
their Captain. The Pass was thus nearly lost ; but Sir Donald 
hurried an officer forward with a platoon of musketeers, " mostly 
young gentlemen of his own company," with directions to maintain 
the Pass, which they did ; " but being hard pressed, many of them 
died in defence of it." 

The others were not idle, and a hot engagement took place. The 
pikemeu had to stand " for two howers in battell under mercy of 
Cannon and musket, so that their sufferings and hurts were greater 
both amongst officers and souldiers than the hurt done to the Mus- 
ketiers, for few of their officers escaped unhurt, and divers also were 
killed." During the engagement, a barrel of gunpowder "was 

Mackay's Regiment 145 

blowne up, whereby," Sir Donald, " was burnt in tbe face, and 
many souldiers spoiled." The enemy, having seen the explosion of 
gunpowder, again tried to force the passage ; but Iheir efforts were 
in vain, ami they had to retire. The first division of the Regiment 
had been fighting upwards of two hours, when the second division 
came up, " who falling on fresh, with man-like courage, the other 
division" fell " off to refresh themselves." 

The engagement continued for some time with unabated vigour; 
but after mid-day the Regiment was enabled to keep the pass " by 
companies, one company relieving another till night, that it grew 
darke, and then darknesse, the enemy of Valour, made the service 
to cease." This engagement lasted from seven o'clock in the morn- 
ing till about four o'clock in the afternoon. The Imperialists cer- 
tainly got a check ; and by the indomitable pluck of the High- 
landers, the Danish army was saved for that day, and an opportunity 
afforded the Generals to decide on future action. But it was a sad 
struggle for our brave countrymen ; for in the unequal contest they 
had three officers and about four hundred men killed, and thirteen 
officers wounded.* The officers killed were Andrew Munro, 
Farquhar Munro, and Murdoch Poison. Among the wounded were 
Sir Donald Mackay, Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Seton, Captain 
Sir Patrick Mackay, Captain John Forbes of Tulloch, and Munro, 
the author of the Expedition. 

Such a service might have been considered most ample work for 
any one regiment to have accomplished in a single day, but there 
was yet more work in store for the Highlanders they had again to 
guard the Pass. The General, apparently out of his whole army, 
had no other regiment he could trust for this important duty. 

Munro says, the Duke of Weimar, after paying a high compli- 
ment to Sir Donald and his Regiment, requested "him that, as the 
Regiment had done bravely all day, in being the instruments under 
God of his safety, and of the armies, he would once more request 
that his Regiment might hold out the inch as they had done the 
span, till it was darke, and then they should be relieved, as he was 
a Christian." 

The Duke faithfully kept his promise. That night the Council 
of "War decided that it would be hopeless to attempt to stand 

* One of the officers wounded, an Ensign, " being shot throush the body 
above the left pappe, went a little aside till he was drest, and returned again to 
his station, keeping his colours in his hand, till night, before the enemy, never 
fainting with his wound, an example of rare courage, and of great strength of 
bodie, neither did he ever thereafter keepe bed or lodging one hour, more than 
ordinary, for all this hurt." Munro, 


146 Gaelic Society of Inverness, 

against Tilly's overwhelming forces. It was therefore resolved that 
the army should retire with all speed to Heiligenhaven, get on board 
the ships lying there, and sail for Denmark. The Duke remembered 
his promise to Sir Donald, and insisted that, as the Highlanders 
had behaved so heroically, they should have some special mark of 
favour. It was accordingly arranged that they, as they " deserved 
best," should be " first brought off, getting orders to march in the 
night to ships." Munro writes regarding this as follows : " Here 
also I found that a friend in need was better than gold, for had not 
the Duke of Wymar beene our friend, we had bin left behinde at 
the passe, and beene prisoners the next day with the rest of the 
Army. . . . Likewise, I have found by experience that those 
who fight best in occasions, have ever the best of it, though they 
chance to suffer loss ; if it come to a retreat, commonly they are 
most respected and come first off, as we did at this time, and it is 
ever better to fight well, and to retire timely, than for a man to suf- 
fer himselfe to be taken prisoner, as many were that morning after 
our retreat." 

When all was quiet, the retreat began. The General, accom- 
panied by Sir Donald, was the first to leave. Then the Highlanders 
followed it having been arranged that they should embark before 
any of the other troops. It was a moonlight night in October, and 
at ten o'clock they reached Heiligenhaven, and drew up on the 
shore. There, it had been arranged, they were to wait for Sir 
Donald, whose object in leaving in advance of his Regiment was 
that he might procure shipping for their transport. He had gone 
out to the roadstead for this purpose ; but there was quite a panic 
among the mariners, and he could not get any one to obey him. 
Munro's statement is that they had been alarmed by the incessant 
firing which they had heard during the day, and " feare so possest 
them all that they lacked hands to worke and hearts to obey," and 
Sir Donald had to return without being able to induce the masters 
of any of the ships to bring their vessels near to the shore to receive 
his men. 

What had been intended to be a quiet and orderly retreat, had 
become a hurried and pell-mell rout ; for when it was knowu that 
the Highlanders had left the Pass, the rest of the army, horse and 
foot, made a rush from the camp to the seaboard ; and ere long the 
cavalry came galloping down to the water's edge in the greatest dis- 
order. There was no head to direct, and everything was in confu- 
sion. The officers had lost all control over their men, and discipline 
was at an end. The number of fugitives rapidly increased, and soon 
men and horses, pioneers, musketeers, and pikemen, baggage and 

Mackay's Regiment 147 

ammunition, were crowded in an unwieldy and unmanageable 
mass on the pier and shore. 

Sir Donald realised the gravity of the situation, and resolved 
upon a plan by means of which the remains of his Eegiment might 
be brought off with safety. The enemy was known to be in pur- 
suit, and there was not a moment to be lost. He must either 
embark his men at once, make a desperate but useless stand against 
the enemy, to " die with back to the water and face to the foe," 
or surrender with the broken Danish army to Count Tilly. The 
runaway cavalry (which consisted chiefly of German levies in the 
Danish service), had crowded the long mole or pier, and were in 
the act of seizing the shipping for the conveyance of themselves 
and their horses. Sir Donald saw he had only one chance, and 
ordered his Highlanders to clear the pier of these horsemen. " Pike- 
men to the front ! " he cried ; and we are told that formed in line, 
eight ranks deep, the whole breadth of the mole, the Highlanders, 
pikemen in front and musketeers in the rear, steadily advanced, 
and charging the horsemen, forced them over the shelving edges 
of the pier into the water. But the channel fortunately was 
shallow, so they escaped drowning. The Highlanders seized upon 
a ship, and after placing their colours and a number of men on 
board, had it moved a little from the shore to prevent its getting 
aground. This accomplished, the ship's boat was manned with 
an officer and some musketeers, who were " sent to force other 
ships out of the Roade " into their service, and thus a sufficient 
number of vessels being secured, the Eegiment was at last safely 
embarked. All, except some villains, as Munro calls them, who had 
" gone a plundering in the Towne, but not knowing the danger 
they were in/' stayed away all night, and were taken next morn- 
ing by the enemy. It was hard work getting the men shipped. 
Some of the officers toiled all night ferrying the sick and wounded 
from the shore, and the last boatful was just leaving when the 
Imperialists entered Heiligenhaven. It was such a narrow escape 
that Captain Robert Munro's boat was beaten from the shore by 
the enemy's horsemen. Among the many incidents recorded, 
Munro mentions the following : " A Gentleman borne in the 
Isles of Scotland, called Alexander Mac-Worche, being wounded 
in the head, and shot in the arme, the enemies Horsemen shooting 
at him with Pistols, he leapes from the shoare, with his cloathes 
on, notwithstanding those wounds, and swimmes to my Cosen 
Captaine Monro his boate, and being brought in, died the next 
day, and was much lamented for of his Camera des, as a Gentleman 
of great hope." The baggage of the Highlanders and the horses 
of their mounted officers had all to be left behind. 

1 48 Gaelic Society of In verness. 

Tilly's army had now possession of Heiligenhaven ; and the 
Highlanders from on board their ships witnessed the surrender of 
the Duke of Weimar's army to the Imperialists. They gave them- 
selves up without striking a blow ! The German horsemen, whom 
the Highlanders had driven from the pier, were mercenaries, and 
nothing more, for they at once took service under Tilly, being 
" quite ready to fight to-morrow the Master they had sworn to 
defend to-day." Munro very quaintly describes the scene. He 
says We saw " the enemies Army drawne up in battell, horse, 
foote and cannon, and " the routed Danish " Army of foote and 
horse opposite unto them : I did see six and thirty Cornets of 
horse being full troupes without loosing of one Pistoll give them- 
selves prisoners in the enemies mercy, whereof the most part took 
service. As also I did see five Regiments of Foote, being forty 
Colours,* follow their examples, rendering themselves and their 
Colours without l:osing of one musket." Of the whole of the 
Duke of Weimar's army, the Mackay Regiment alone escaped. 

The loss of his army was not the only misfortune that this 
stroke of ill-luck brought to the King of Denmark. The provinces 
of Holstein and Jutland were also lost, and from that day till 
the siege of Stralsuud, his whole military operations were, with a 
few exceptions, little more than a series of flights. For a time 
the Austrian Eagle spread its wings over the mainland of Denmark, 
from the Elbe to the Skager Rack, and the Danish Islands alone 
remained under the sway of King Christian. 

Sir DonaM, on leaving Heiligenhaven with his Highlanders, 
sailed for Flensborg, to report what had taken place to the King, 
and receive further orders from His Majesty. The King was much 
grieved on learning the heavy loss his forces had sustained ; but 
seeing he could not then again enter the field against the Imperi- 
alists, he prudently resolved to act upon the defensive, till he 
could organise another army for active operations. In the mean- 
time he directed Sir Donald to proceed to Assens, in the Island of 
Funen, and there the Highlanders landed. It was only a year 
since they had left Scotland, and six months since they had entered 
on active service, but the struggles they had been engaged in had 
been of so sanguinary a character, that already the Regiment was 
reduced to less than half the number which embarked at Cromarty 
on the 10th of October, 1626. "We landed at Assens of our 
Regiment," says Munro, " eight hundred souldiers besides one 
hundred and fifty wounded and sicke men, and being put in good 

* Each company in those days carried a colour. 

Mackay's Regiment. 149 

quarters, we rest us, leaving the enemy to rest in the fat land of 
Holaten and YewtUind, having a good broad and deep fossey (the 
sea) betwixt us, we were by Gods mercy secured." 

The King of Denmark had also gone to Assens, and after Sir 
.Donald had consulted with his Majesty, it was arranged that two 
companies of the Regiment were to remain there, while the rest 
should he quartered in the neighbouring villages. A comfortable 
and convenient hotel, or country house, was also provided for " the 
wounded and sicko men, where they were to be entertained together 
till they were cured, and his Majestic graciously ordained skilfull 
Chirurgians, diligently to attend them, being an hundred and fiftie, 
besides officers." 

It was after getting to Assens that news reached them of the 
gallant defence of Bredenburg, and the massacre of the garrison. 
The news filled every one with the deepest sorrow. 

The heavy losses the Regiment had sustained now became 
mat'.er for serious consideration. Sir Donald called the officers to- 
gether for consultation, and the result of their deliberation was that 
he entered into a new agreement with the King for a further prose- 
cution of the cause in which they had embarked, and at once made 
preparations to go to Scotland lor the purpose of bringing over a 
thousand men to recruit the Regiment. Officers from each company, 
it was arranged, were to go with him, and in most cases the captains 
were selected, leaving the command of their respective companies 
during their absence to their lieutenants. By taking these officers 
with him, Sir Donald expected to recruit with greater expedition 
than if he had gone alone. 

Captain Robert Munro (the author of the Expedition) having 
done duty as major for some time, was, on the news of the death of 
Major Dunbar, appointed by his " Colonel's respect and his Majes- 
ties favour," major of the Regiment ; or, as the rank was then de- 
signated, sergeant-major, an office almost precisely similar to that of 
adjutant of the present day. Munro's account of his instalment is 
interesting, as the description of a bygone military ceremony. 
" Orders were given unto the Commissary that mustered us, accord- 
ing to my Patent [or Commission] to place me as sergeant-major 
over the Regiment, which all duely obeyed by the Commissary, the 
Drummer Major, accompanied with the rest of the drummers of the 
Regiment, being commanded, beate a bancke in head oi the Regiment. 
The Commissary having his Majesties Patent in his hand [the Com- 
mission was signed by the King], makes a speech, signifying his 
Majesties will unto all the officers of the Regiment, and without 
any contradiction placed me Sergeant-major, and delivering me my 

150 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Patent takes me by the hand, as the Colonell did, Lievetenant- 
Colonell with the whole officers of the Kegiment, wishing me joy, 
with the general! applause of the whole Soldateska, which ceremony 
ended, the Kegiment marched off, by companies unto their severall 
quarters as before." 

The officers that accompanied Sir Donald Mackay to Scotland, 
were Captains Sir Patrick Mackay, John Munro of Obisdell, John 
Munro (commonly called Assynt Munro), Sinclair, Forbes, and 
Annan, and Lieutenant Robert Stewart. Major Munro was left 
in command of the Eegiment, as Lieutenant-Colonel Seton had 
gone to Holland on leave. 

Before returning to Denmark, Sir Donald Mackay went to 
London for a short time, and on the 19th February. 1628, the 
King advanced him to the dignity of the peerage, under the title 
of LORD EBAY, by patent to him and his heirs male for ever, bear- 
ing the name and arms of Mackay. 

During his absence, the Regiment had hot work on several 
occasions. He left for Scotland in October, and in November 
Major Munro was ordered to proceed with four companies to the 
Island of Laaland, to keep the Imperialists in check, as they had 
crossed the Belt and laid the Island of Femern under contribution. 
Some months later (22nd March, 1628), the King also landed in 
Laaland with 2500 foot, being resolved to drive the enemy from 
Femern, as he was afraid, if they were left undisturbed there, they 
might get possession of some of the other Islands. On the 6th of 
April the expedition sailed, and on the 8th landed at Femern. 
After a short resistance, the Imperialist garrison surrendered uncon- 
ditionally, and leaving their arms, baggage, and ammunition, were 
sent away in boats to Holstein. After resting three days, during 
which time the King appointed a Governor, and told off a garrison 
for the protection of the Island, a second expedition was agreed 
upon. On the llth of April, the ships again set sail, and kept 
along the coast of Holstein till they came to Eckernfiord, where 
there was a garrison of the Imperialists. Here the troops landed, 
the King remaining on board ship to watch proceedings. The 
force consisted of close upon 2000 men, English, Scots, Dutch, 
and French, in about equal numbers. It was agreed to cast lots 
as to which should lead the attack, and the lot fell on the High- 
landers, the English corning next. The town was taken and 
plundered, but there was some hard righting and considerable 
loss. Before the attack began, Mr. William Forbes, the preacher 
to the Regiment, wished the Highlanders success " in the name of 
the Lord." Part of the defenders retired to the church, which 

Mackay's Regiment 151 

they barricaded, and shooting out of it did great damage to the 
attacking party. On the church being forced, it was discovered 
that the defenders had retired for safety to a detached gallery ; but, 
before doing so, they had laid a train of gunpowder over the floor, for 
the destruction of the building, when the invaders entered it. 
Major Munro, on noticing this, had barely time to warn his men 
of their danger, when an explosion took place, by which about one 
hundred were killed. The Highland soldiers not having forgotten 
the enemy's cruelty to their comrades at Bredenburg, then resolved 
to give no quarter, and about two hundred and fifjty of the enemy 
were destroyed. Several of Mackay's officers were wounded, among 
others, Captain Mackenzie, who " was favourably shot in the legge," 
and Lieutenant David Munro, who was " pitifully burnt." 

The chaplain, " Master William Forbesse," is described by 
Munro as " a Preacher for Souldiers, yea and a Captaine in neede, 
to lead Souldiers on a good occasion, being full of courage and 
discretion and good conduct, beyond some Captaines I have 
knowne, who were not so capable as he. At this time, he not 
onely prayed for us, but went on with us, to remarke, as I thinke, 
rnens carriage, and having found a Sergeant neglecting his dutie, 
and his honour at such a time, did promise to reveal him unto me, 
as he did after their service ; the Sergeant being called before me, 
and accused, did deny his accusation, alleaging that if he were no 
Pastour that had alleaged it, he would not lie under the injury, the 
Preacher offered to fight with him, that it was truth he had spoken 
of him, whereupon I cashier'd the Sergeant. . . . The Sergeant 
being cashier'd never call'd Master William to account, for which 
he was evill thought of, so that he retired home, and quit the 

Munro very ingenuously gives three excuses for pursuing men 
who had " retired to a Church being a place of refuge." First, 
our orders " were to beate our enemies, in taking them prisoners, 
or by killing them, which we could not effect, . . . without 
entering the Church." " Secondly. They having banished the 
Gospell, and the Preachers of it out of the Church, we had good 
reason to banish them, who had made of the house of God a Denne 
of theeves and murtherers, as they were at Bredenburg having 
killed our Camerades, and massacred our Preacher being on his 
knees begging mercy, and could find none. Thirdly. They 
treacherously retired themselves to a Loft apart in the Church, for 
their own safeties, and left trains of Powder to blow us up at our 
entry, which made our Compassion towards them the Colder ; " 
and then he adds, however, " I refused not to shew compassion 

152 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

on those who did beg it of me, and what others did in their fury, 
I did tolerate, not being pawerfull to hinder them." Truly war 
is a cruel teacher, when it can justify such excesses, even as acts 
of retribution. 

Having returned to their ships, the King directed that they 
should next sail along the coast till they came to Kiel. Here a 
landing was attempted ; but the preparations made by the Imperi- 
alist leader, defeated the attempt to take the town, and the greater 
number of the men detailed for this purpose were killed. The attack- 
ing party was led by an English officer, who displayed great bravery. 
He got off, but died of his wounds the following day. Thirty 
Highlanders were among the number which landed ; and of these 
twenty-two were killed ; the remaining eight were wounded, but 
escaped by swimming to the King's ship, into which they were 
taken. Munro remarks " Here also our Scottisfi High-land-men 
are prayse worthy, who for lacke of Boats, made use of their vertue 
and courage in swimming the Seas, notwithstanding of their wounds, 
with their cloathe?, shewing their Masters they were not the first 
came off, but with the last ; following the example of their leader, 
they would not stay to be Prisoners, as many doe at such times, and 
never returne." After this disappointment and repulse, the ships 
returned to Femern. An attempt was made shortly alterwards to 
establish a footing in Holstein, but also failed ; and orders were 
then given to sail back to Laaland. 

But another great struggle was at hand. Tidings were brought 
to King Christian that Stralsund, one of the free cities of the 
Hanseatic League had been besieged by the Imperialists, under 
Marshal Arnheim. It had remained neutral during the war, 
pursuing those habits of peaceful industry which had secured it 
so many privileges from the Dukes of Pomerania ; but its noble 
harbour, and its vicinity to the coasts of Sweden and Denmark, 
made its possession of great importance to the conqueror. Walleu- 
stein, then the generalissimo of the Emperor, had declared he 
would sweep the shores, and also the waters of the Baltic ; and in 
pursuance of this plan resolved to seize Stralsund. He sent an 
officer requesting the burghers to receive an Imperial garrison, 
which they declined ; he then asked for permission to march his 
army through the city, but the burgomaster was too wary, and this 
also was refused ; then the gates were closed, and cannon loaded 
the city stood upon its defence, and Marshal Arnheim was com- 
manded to begin the siege at once. The burghers of Stralsund 
thereupon sent a message to the King of Denmark, humbly begying 
for his assistance. This, he at once promised, for he knew if 

Mackay's Regiment 153 

Stralsund fell into the hands of the Imperialists, the free naviga- 
tion of the Baltic would be lost, and the Danish islands, as it 
were, at the mercy of the conqueror. He selected Lord Reay's 
Regiment for the hazardous duty, " having had sufficient proof of 
its former service ... so that hefore others they were trusted 
on this occasion." Orders were given that they should at once pro- 
ceed to Stralsund. Lieutenant-Colonel Seton having returned 
from Holland, was instructed to take shipping direct from Funen, 
with the three companies which had been left in that island ; 
while the four companies which were stationed in Laaland were to 
march to Elsinore and embark there. Lieutenant-Colonel Seton 
with the three companies must have entered Stralsund on the 24th 
or 25th of May ; for Munro, who arrived with the other four 
companies on the 28th, says, we were " no sooner drawne up in the 
Market place, but presently we were sent to watch at Franckendore, 
to relieve the other Division, that had watched three days and three 
nights together uncome off, that being the weakest part of the 
whole Towne, and the onely poste pursued by the enemy, which our 
Lievetenant-Colonell made choice of, being the most dangerous, for 
his Countries credit." 

For the space of six weeks their duty in defending the town 
was hard and unremitting. During this time, " neither officer nor 
Souldier was suffered to come off his watch, neither to diue or 
suppe, but their ineate was carried unto them, to their poste." 
And Munro says, that in these six weeks his " clothes came never 
off, except it had been to change a suite or linniiigs" [linens]. 
The town's people too, were very surly and inhospitable, or as 
Munro expresses it, " ungratefull and unthankful! ; " and this 
added considerably to the discomfort of the soldiers. 

Day after day, and night after night, the Highlanders were 
kept at their posts without any respite. They had to keep double 
watch, and their position was being constantly assailed by the 
enemy. The Franken-gate, which was their especial charge, was at 
the weakest part of the city wall, and the enemy, as a matter of 
course, directed most of their efforts to carry that point. Attempts 
were made by the Highlanders to strengthen their position ; but 
they had to work, so to speak, with spade in one hand, and pike or 
musket in the other, for the Imperialists were constantly on the 
alert to attack them at any moment. Many of the defenders were 
killed, and many more wounded. " When cannons are ro iring and 
bullets flying, he that would have honour must not feare dying : 
many rose in the morning, went not to bed at night, and many 
supped at night, sought no breakfast ia the morning." So 

154 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

writes Munro, and then he adds, " some had their heads separated 
from their bodies by the Cannon, as happened to one Lievetenant 
and thirteene Souldiers, that had their fourteene heads shot from 
them by one Cannon bullet at once. Who doubts of this, he may 
go and see the reliques of their braines to this day [1636, about 
eight years after the siege], sticking on the walles, under the 
Port of Franckendore in Trailesound" 

"Wallenstein was so annoyed that the siege should last so long, 
that on the 26th of June he arrived in the camp for the purpose 
of conducting the operations himself. He examined the walls, 
and swore he would " take the place in three nights, though it were 
hanging with Iron chaines, betwixt the earth and the heavens." 
" But," as the historian writes, " forgetting to take God on his side, 
he was disappointed by him who disposeth of all things." 

Between ten and eleven o'clock that night the assault was made, 
and the post guarded by Mackay's Eegiment, being, as I have 
already mentioned, the weakest, the enemy's efforts were directed 
chiefly against it. But it was known that Wallenstein was in 
camp, and the Highlanders were prepared for a more than ordinary 
attack on their position. The sentries were doubled, and posts 
strengthened ; and when the enemy advanced, " above a thousand 
strong, with a shoute, sa sa, sa sa, sa sa /" the sentry gave fire, 
the defenders were at once called to arms, and after a severe struggle 
of an hour and a half, the assailants were repulsed. But they had 
reliefs at hand, and were at once succeeded by a storming party of 
equal number, and these again by others, and so on until morning, 
when day breaking, a last and desperate effort was made to force the 
gate. They got within the outworks, but were beaten ' ' backe againe 
with greate losse, with swords and pikes and butts of muskets, so 
that " they were " forced to retire, having lost above a thousand 
men," while the Highlanders lost " neare two hundred, besides 
those who were hurt." The moat was filled with the dead bodies of 
the enemy up to the banks. The works were ruined and could 
not be repaired, "which caused the next night's watch to be the 
more dangerous." 

The defence was conducted by Major Munro, who was severely 
wounded ; and he tells us that, " during the time of this hot con- 
flict, none that was whole went off at the coming of the reliefe, but 
continued in the fight assisting their Camerades, so long as their 
strength served." He remained till " wearied and growne stiff with" 
his wounds, he was assisted off. The number of Highland officers 
killed and wounded was very heavy. 

The Regiment was badly treated. They asked for assistance, 

Mackay's Regiment. 155 

but although, nearly all the force of the enemy was directed against 
their position, no support was sent them. But just before the last 
assault was made, Colonel Fritz, who had recently arrived in Stral- 
sund from Sweden, went to the help of the Highlanders " with 
foure score musketiers." Colonel Fritz was killed, and also his 
Major, who was named Semple ; and his Lieutenant-Colonel, 
MacDougall, was taken prisoner, and was missing for six months. 

It is reported of WaUenstein, that he was so eager to get into 
the town, that, when his wounded officers retired, he ordered them 
to be shot, branding them as cowards for leaving their places so 
long as they could stand. 

Munro very drily remarks on the shouts, " Sa sa, sa sa, sa sa ! " 
made by the Imperialists, when entering on an engagement 
" Shouting like Turkes, as if crying would terrific resolute Souldiers : 
No truely . . . seeing we were more overjoyed by their coming 
than any wise terrified ; and we received them with Yolees of 
Cannon and Musket in their teeth, which faire and wellcome was 
hard of digestion unto some of them. . . . True courage con- 
sists not in words . . . but in the strength of the Valiant 
Arme, and not in the Tongue. ... It may well be said of 
them as the Proverbe is that the dogges did barke more than they 
did bite." 

The following day Lieut. -Colonel Seton visited the wounded 
Major at his lodgings, and gave him particulars of the loss the 
Regiment had sustained. So few men were left that were really 
fit for service, that Munro advised that they should all be put into 
the Colonel's company, so as to form one strong company, in the 
meantime, and when the recruits came from Scotland, the com- 
panies should then be formed anew.* When night came, the 

* The second sight had not quite died out in those days, for Munro adds, in 
connection with the visit made to him by Lieut. -Colonel Seton : "To make my 
Lievetenant-Colonell laugh, I did tell him a story of a vision, that was scene by a 
Souldier of the Colonell's company, that morning before the enemy did storme, 
being a predictive dreame, and a true. One Murdo Mac-claude borne in Assen, 
a Souldier of a tall stature, and valiant courage, being sleeping on his watch, 
awakened by the breake of day, and jogges two of his Camerades lying by him, 
who did finde much fault with him for sturring of them, he replied, before long 
you shall be otherwise starred, a Souldier called Allen Tough a Loghaber-man, 
recommending his soule to -God, asked him what he had seene, who answered him, 
you shall never see your country againe, the other replied, the losse was but small 
if the rest of the company were well, he answered no, for there was great hurt 
and death of many very neere, the other asked againe, whom had he seene more 
that would dye besides him, sundry of his Camerades he tould by name, that 
should be killed : the other asked what would become of himselfe, he answered, he 
would be killed with the rest : in effect, he describeth the whole Officers by their 
cloathea that should be hurt : a pretty quicke boy neere by asked him, what 

156 Gaelic Society of In verness. 

enemy made another furious assault, and the Highlanders had for a 
time to abandon their (outworks and retire to the ravelin ; but as 
soon as the morning light shone, led by their officers, and armed 
some " with corslets, head-pieces, with halt-pikes, morgan sternes, 
and swords," they rushed out " Pell mell amongst the enemies, 
and chased them quite out of the workes againe, and retiring with 
credit, maintained still the Triangle or Eaveline." The loss of life 
was again great on both sides. 

Wallenstein finding he could not take the city so easily as he 
imagined, sent a trumpeter to know if the defenders would treat 
with him upon terms. Lieut-Colonel Seton (in the absence of 
Colonel Holke, the governor of the city), was glad of the offer, and 
an armistice of fourteen days was agreed upon to draw up the terms 
of a treaty, and to give time to ascertain the King of Denmark's 
views on the subject. The treaty was just ready for signature when 
orders came to Lieut.-Colonel Seton not to sign it, as troops were in 
readiness to come with all haste for his relief. " Whereupon my 
Lord ^pynie, a Scots Noble man, with his Regiment, with sufficient 
provision of money and Ammunition, were sent unto the Towne, 
and being entered the treaty was rejected, and made voide." 

Shortly after this an arrangement was entered into by the Kings 
of Denmark and Sweden, by which the defence of Stralsund was 
undertaken by the latter. Sir Alexander Leslie, " an expert and 
valorous Scots commander," was appointed governor,t with some 
Swedish troops ; and the forces employed by the King of Denmark 
were ordered to be withdrawn from, the garrison, and Swedish 
troops employed in their place. 

Leslie had no sooner taken the command than he resolved to 
attack the besiegers, and drive them from their works. Desirous 
of conferring " credit on his owne Nation alone," he " made choice 
of Spunia's Kegirnent, being their first service to make the outfall," 

would become of the Major, meaning me, he answered, he wou'd he shot, but 
not deadly, and tlut the boy should be next unto me, when I were hurt, as he 
was. " 

t Munro enlarges in glowing terms on the special blessings bestowed on the 
Stralsunders in having obtained a Scotsman for their ruler: "And what a 
blessing it was to a Towne perplexed, as this was, to get a good, wise, vertuous 
and valiant Governour in time of their greatest trouble, wh ch .-hewes that we 
are govarn'd by a power above us." And then waxing more eloquent on the 
good fortune of the city, and the merits of his countrymen, he adds, " It faring 
then with Trai/esound, as with Sara ; she became fruitfull when she could not 
believe it, and they become flourishing having gotten a Scots Governour to protect 
them, whom they looked not for, which was a good omen unto them, to get a 
Governour of the Nation, that was never conquered, which made them the onely 
Towne in Germany free, as yet, from the Emperiall yoke, by the valour of our 
Nation, that defended their City in their greatest danger." 

Mackay's Regiment 157 

and " the remainder of Mackay's Regiment to second them for mak- 
ing good of their retreate." They fell upon the enemy's works, 
forced them to retire, and drove them back to the main body of 
their army. But overpowered by numbers, they, in their turn, 
were obliged " to retire with the losse of some brave Cavaliers." 
To make their retreat good, Captain Mackenzie advanced " with the 
old Scottish blades" of Mackay's Regiment. He succeeded in driv- 
ing off the enemy, and then covering Spynie's men, till they had 
arrived within their own works, he, still lacing the foe, gradually 
retired to his own position. But the loss of the Highlanders was 
again considerable, for they had thirty men killed. 

Immediately after resigning the protection of Stralsund to 
Sweden, the King of Denmark made an attempt to secure for him- 
self the province of Pomerania, then held by the Imperialists. For 
this purpose he left Denmark with a force of cavalry and infantry, 
with which he landed at Wolgast. He then recalled Mackay's and 
Spynie's Regiments from Stralsund ; and the remains of these two 
Scottish corps reached Wolgast about the end of July. The King 
immediately prepared to attack the Imperialists, but he was no 
match for them. They destroyed the greater part of his army with- 
out even coming to any regular engagement ; and then pressing him 
hard, forced him to retire, in great haste and confusion, until he was 
again within the town of Wolgast. Here finding he was in danger 
of being taken prisoner, he put all the Scottish troops under com- 
mand of Captain Mackenzie of Mackay's Regiment, who was ordered 
to skirmish with the enemy till the King had passed the bridge ; 
and then, with his Highlanders, he was to retire, and set the bridge 
on fire, "which the Captaine did orderly obey," says Munro, 
" doing his Majestic the best service was done him in the whole 
time of the warres, not without great danger of the Captaine, and 
his followers, where the Bridge once burning, he was then the 
happiest man that could first be shipped." 

The King immediately embarked for Denmark with the re- 
mainder of his forces. They arrived at Copenhagen on the 9th 
of August, and were met by Lord Reay, who had just returned 
from Scotland, with about a thousand recruits for his Regiment. 

I may here mention that the Highlanders had no further share 
in the defence of Stralsuud. An idea of the hard work they had, 
may, however, be inferred from the fact that upwards of five 
hundred of them were killed during the short time they were 
engaged in defending that city. The siege lasted four months in 
all, and cost the Imperialists upwards of twelve thousand of their 
best soldiers. But notwithstanding this immense sacrifice, they 

158 Gaelic Society of Inverness, 

were compelled to retire, after spiking their cannon, destroying 
their baggage, and setting fire to their camp, so as to prevent any 
booty falling into the hands of the gallant defenders. 

At Copenhagen, Lord Eeay immediately set to work to re- 
organize his Eegiment. So few, however, of the band survived 
which had sailed from Cromarty on the 10th of October, 1626, 
that the task was like forming a new regiment altogether. Munro 
says, that when the survivors left Stralsund of " both officers and 
souldiers I doe not think one hundred were free of wounds, re- 
ceived honourably in defence of the good cause." The record is 
almost without a parallel in history. 

Two companies sent over by Colonel Sinclair (of which one was 
a Welsh Company, commanded by Captain Trafford), were joined 
to the Eegiment ; and Lieutenant-Colonel Seton having retired, 
Major Munro was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel in his place. When 
completed and mustered, the new Eegiment numbered fourteen 
hundred men, besides officers. 

Shortly after his return to Denmark, the King decided on 
raising another army, either " to beate the enemy out of Hoist en, 
or otherwise with his sword in his hand, make an honourable peace." 
Having made all the preliminary arrangements for the campaign, 
which, it was intended, should open in the following spring, the 
King ordered the army into winter quarters. 

In April the troops were brought together, and plans prepared 
for a descent on Holstein. The different companies of Lord Eeay's 
Eegiment, which had been quartered in various places during 
winter, assembled at Enge, where, it was proposed, hostilities should 
begin. There was every indication that a fierce and terrible struggle 
was at hand ; but before again drawing the sword, the King de- 
cided on trying to arrange a treaty of peace with the Emperor of 
Austria. In this he succeeded. The preliminaries were agreed 
upon in May, and in August the treaty was signed. Holstein and 
Jutland were restored to the King, and the conditions imposed upon 
him were that he should not interfere in the affairs of Germany 
further than he was entitled to do as Count of Holstein ; that on 
no pretext was he to enter the circles of Lower Germany ; that he 
was to leave the Elector Palatine to his fate ; and that the Scottish 
troops in his service were to quit it forthwith. 

" Thus by a strange combination of misfortunes, was the most 
gallant of the Danish monarchs compelled to retire ingloriously 
from the great arena of the German war." 

The service of Mackay's Eegiment was now ended in Denmark. 
The King settled liberally and honourably with Lieuteannt-Colonel 

Mackay's Regiment 159 

Munro (in the absence of Lord Eeay, who had again returned to 
Britain) ; and then graciously dismissed the Regiment, "in whom 
the least omission could never be found, much lesse to have com- 
mitted any grosse errour worthe imputation." Orders were given 
to provide shipping to convey officers and men to Scotland, and 
" till the shipps were ready to saile," they were to be furnished 
with free quarters at Elsinore. 

But the Regiment did not return to Scotland. The war between 
Denmark and Austria certainly was ended, but the great struggle 
had little more than begun. 


In the summer of 1629 a large army was sent by the Emperor 
of Austria to the assistance of the Poles, who were then fighting 
against Sweden. This, of course, led to war between the Swedes 
and Austrians, and brought Gustavus Adolphus into the field. 
The King of Sweden appeared upon the scene as the champion of 
Protestantism, while the Emperor fought for the supremacy of the 
Church of Rome. The struggle was a long one ; and though, 
after a time, selfish and political interests took the place of the 
religious elements with which the war began, it yet ended ultimately 
in the establishment of civil and religious liberty in Germany. 

Acting under instructions from Lord Reay, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Munro, instead of returning with the Regiment to Scotland, 
tendered its services to the King of Sweden. Gustavus, who had 
formed a high opinion of the Scottish soldiery (he had many of 
them in his service), was glad to secure the assistance of a regiment 
which had already made itself so famous, and very speedily agreed 
to such conditions as were satisfactory to all concerned ; and under 
him the Regiment gained even greater honours, if that were possible, 
than it had achieved, when originally embodied, and serving the 
King of Denmark. 

When the arrangements were completed, six companies of the 
Highlanders were, on the orders of Gustavus, despatched, " as a be- 
ginning," by Munro from Elsinore to Braunsburg in Prussia. There 
they had a very easy time of it, for they were stationed in that district 
for more than a year without being engaged in any active service. 
The remainder of the Regiment must have been removed to Holland, 
to wait reinforcements and instructions from Lord Reay, for Munro 
says, " other sixe Companies of the old Regiment, the Colonell 
directed from Holland to Sweden, in November 1629, where they 

160 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

remained in Garrison till May 1630." This would make the total 
strength of the regiment twelve companies, or about 2000 men, 
when it entered the service of Gustavus Adolphus. 

Munro remained in Denmark to meet Lord Reay ; and they 
both passed the winter in that country. In February, 1630, his 
Lordship proceeded to Sweden to wait on the King, and was 
accompanied by Munro.* His Majesty received them graciously, 
and they found him so well pleased with the condition and disci- 
pline of the Highlanders, that he " did wish in open presence of 
the Army that all his Foot were as well disciplined. . . . And 
having caused the Eegiment march by towards their Quarters his 
Majesty did mightily and much praise the Regiment for their good 

Lord Reay remained in Sweden with the division of his 
Regiment which was there ; but Munro was directed to proceed to 
Prussia, to take command of the six companies which had been 
sent to Braunsburg. 

In the month of May the King took shipping with his army 
for Germany, and Lord Reay, with the division of his Regiment, 
accompanied him. The first service they had was the taking of 
Stettin. This city was then governed by the Duke of Pomerania, 
and on reaching it a trumpeter was sent to demand entrance. The 
Duke replied that he wished to remain neutral ; but as this answer 
was not considered satisfactory by Gustavus, the Duke came out 
to have a personal interview with the King. After some conversa- 
tion, he returned to the city, " and the drawbridge being let down 
for him, Lord Reay, at the head of his men, sprang upon it along 
with him, and rushing in at the gate, they were followed by the 
King and his army." There was no active resistance, and the city 
was taken without any bloodshed. t But Tilly was in the imme- 
diate neighbourhood, in command of the Imperialist army, and like 
a vulture scenting its prey, was on the watch. 

Gustavus, on getting into Stettin, immediately appointed a 
solemn thanksgiving, to be held by the army, for their easy victory. 
Tilly, ever on the alert, took advantage of this, and fell upon the 

* Lord Reay and Munro "were nobly and courteously entertained " on their 
journey through Sweden. They visited many of their countrymen, who had 
settled in the land, and among others " that worthy Cavaliere, Colonell Alexander 
Hamilton at his Worke-houses at Urbowe, being then imployed in making of 
Cannon and fire-workes for his Majesty." This was Sir Alexander Hamilton of 
Redhouse, a celebrated artillerist, whose cannon were long famous in Germany ; 
and guns made on his principle, and known as Canon a la Suedois, were used in 
the French Army till 1780. He returned to Scotland, became famous in the wars 
of the Covenant, and was killed by an explosion at the castle of Dunglass. 

t History of the House and Clan of Mackay. 

Mackay's Regiment 161 

outposts ; but an alarm being given, he was soon repulsed. Then 
thinking, perhaps, that the death of Gustavus would bring the war 
to an end, he bribed two German soldiers to assassinate the King. 
But the treason was discovered : One of the men was apprehended 
and executed, the other, however, escaped. 

The division of Highlanders remained for several months at 
Stettin, and were afterwards joined there by the six companies 
which had been sent to Braunsburg, whose adventures I shall now 
relate. On the 12th August, 1630, they were ordered to proceed 
to Pillau, and from thence to take shipping to Wolgast. Three 
vessels were employed for their conveyance ; but a few days after 
sailing, one of the ships, that in which Lieutenant-Colonel Munro, 
with three of the companies, had embarked, was driven ashore in 
a storm, and became a total wreck, those on board barely escaping 
with their lives.* From some peasants it was ascertained they had 
been wrecked on the Island of Rugen, and that the Imperialists 
were in considerable force in the neighbourhood. The shipwrecked 
men were in miserable plight, their ammunition had been destroyed, 
and they had no weapons " but swords, pikes, and some wet mus- 
kets." With the enemy near at hand, prompt action was necessary. 
The Castle of Eugenwalde, belonging to the Duke of Pomerania, 
was not far off. The Duke was a secret partisan of Gustavus, and 
though the Imperialists had taken possession of the town, they 
strangely had left the castle under the charge of the Duke's re- 
tainers. Munro sent an officer, under the direction of a guide, to 
the commander of the castle, to say that if he would furnish muskets 
and ammunition, he (Munro) would clear the town of the Imperia- 
lists, and defend it for the King. This the commander at once 

* As there is no further reference to the other ships, it may be presumed that 
they reached their destination in safety, and that the remaining three companies 
of the Regiment arrived at Wolgast, and afterwards joined the head quarters at 

Among the incidents connected with the shipwreck, Munro mentions " that 
in the very moment when our ship did breake on ground, there was a Sergeants 
"Wife a shipboard who without the helpe of any women was delivered of a Boy, 
which all the time of the tempest she carefully did preserve, and being come 
ashore, the next day she marched neere foure English mile, with that in her 
Armes, which was in her Belly the night before, and was Christened the next 
Sunday after sermon, being the day of our thanksgiving for our Deliverance, our 
Preacher Mr. Murdow Mac-Kenyee, a worthy and Religious young man, having 
discharged his part that day, after with much regrate did sever from us, and 
followed my Lord of Rkee our Colonell unto Britaine. " Mackenzie, the preacher, 
was afterwards minister of Suddie, in Ross-shire. 

Munro also mentions that two of those on board " that tooke a pride in their 
swimming, thinking by swimming to gaine the shore, were both drowned." These 
were the only men lost. The one was a Dane (probably one of the sailors), and 
the other " Murdo Piper." 


162 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

agreed to, and fifty muskets with ammunition were supplied. When 
night came, the Highlanders were admitted hy a secret passage 
into the castle, and from thence passed easily into the town below. 
There they fell suddenly on the Imperialists, who were prepared 
for an attack from without, but not from within ; and not know- 
ing the numbers of the force thus so unexpectedly appearing, the 
usual effect of a panic followed. In short, such was the impetu- 
osity with which the Highland musketeers and pikemen made their 
attack, that the whole band of Imperialists were either killed or 
taken prisoners. The keys of the town and castle were then de- 
livered to Munro, and next day he sent a messenger to Stettin to 
acquaint his Majesty with the manner of his landing, and his 
"happy success" thereafter. He got orders from the King to 
maintain this valuable acquisition, " to keepe good watch and good 
order over the soldiers, and not to suffer them to wrong the 
country people whom " he " should presse to keepe for " his 
" Friends." ' 

" Thus by a daring midnight attack, resolutely executed, under 
the most disadvantageous circumstances, a few Scottish Highlanders 
rewon the fertile Isle of Eugen for Gustavus."* 

Munro retained Rugenwalde for nine weeks, during which the 
cannonading, firing, and skirmishing were incessant. But the 
Austrians closed in upon all sides, and his situation soon became 
one of the greatest peril. He was, however, relieved by an old 
friend and fellow student, Sir John Hepburn, who, by order of the 
King, pushed forward to his assistance, by forced marches from 
Polish Prussia. 

The next service of the Highlanders was the defence of the 
castle and town of Schiefelbein, described as " a scurvie hole for 
any honest cavalier to maintain his credit in," though it had been 
a post of strength. The castle, however, was in a dilapidated con- 
dition, and the town almost deserted, nearly half the inhabitants 
having died of a pestilence. A large force of Imperialists was 
known to be marching to the relief of Colberg, which was invested 
by General Kniphausen ; and, as the relieving party must needs 
pass Schiefelbein, Munro was commanded to take possession of the 
castle. He had barely time to throw up some earthworks, when 
the enemy appeared. The orders he had received were brief and 
clear : " Maintain the town as long as you can ; but fight to the 
last man, and do not give up the castle." Obedient to this, when 
the enemy appeared, and sent a trumpeter to propose a treaty of 

* Grant's Memoirs of Sir John ffepbvm, 

Mackay's Regiment 163 

surrender, Munro replied, " I have no such orders, but I have 
powder and ball at your service." Upon this the attack began ; 
but not being able to maintain the town, the defenders retired to 
the castle. The enemy having brought in their artillery and am- 
munition to the Market place, again sent to see if Munro would 
deliver " up the Castle upon good conditions, but if not, he should 
have no quarter afterwards." An answer similar to the first was 
returned, and then the attack began anew. The Imperialist force 
was under the command of Count Montecuculi, and numbered 
about eight thousand men. The castle was at once invested on all 
sides, and at nightfall the enemy began to " plant their Batteries 
within fourtie paces of our walles, which," says the gallant defender, 
" I thought too neere ; but the night drawing on, wee resolved with 
fireworkes, to cause them remove their quarters, and their 
Artillerie." Munro soon showed what he meant by fireworks. 
He resolved to burn out the enemy by setting fire to the town ; 
and his proceedings were speedy and simple. He directed one of 
his soldiers to fix a fire ball on the house that was nearest the castle^ 
and the result was, as he tells us, that " the whole street did burns 
right alongst betwixt us and the enemy, who was then forced to 
retire, both his Canon and Souldiers, and not without great losse 
done unto him by our Souldiers." " Upon this the wary Montecuculi 
auguring from the resolution of the governor, and the sturdy 
valour of his bare-kneed soldiers, that no laurels would be won 

. . retired in the night without beat of drum, and under cover 
of a dense mist. Thus did five hundred Highlanders repel sixteen 
times their number of Imperialists."* 

Count Montecuculi resumed his march towards Colberg, his 
main object being, as we have seen, to relieve that stronghold. 
But this he was not permitted to accomplish, for Field-Marshal 
Home, accompanied by Lord Reay, with some Highland Musketeers, 
had come up from Stettin and joined General Kniphausen, and 
thus stopped his march in that direction. An engagement took 
place between the two forces on the 13th November, without, how- 
ever, leading to any decisive result, for a thick fog again coming on, 
the Imperialists were able to retire, though not without some loss. 
Indeed, if it had not been for " the Scottish musketeers of Hepburn 
and Lord Eeay, who were in the van . . . and stood like a 
rampart, pouring in their volleys from right to left," the Imperialists 
would probably have been the victors. The Swedish infantry, who 
were led by a young and inexperienced officer, fled almost without 

* Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn. 

164 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

firing a shot ; and their cavalry also were seized by an unaccount- 
able panic, and likewise took flight. Indeed, two of the troopers 
galloped to Schiefelbein, and told Munro that the Swedish army 
was beaten. Munro, however, did not believe this, and had them 
imprisoned until he ascertained the truth. He shortly after- 
wards saw the enemy retreating, about a mile off, and gives the fol- 
lowing account of what took place : 

"The morning being dark with a thick mist the horsemen 
charging one another, they came in confusion on both sides, being 
affrighted alike, retired from each others with the losse of foure score 
men on both sides. The particulars whereof I will not set downe, 
having not seene the service." 

Although, taking part in various engagements, nothing of im- 
portance occurred in which the Regiment was concerned, for some- 
time after this. Munro, of course, went to see his Colonel, Lord 
Reay ; and a few days after the retreat of the Imperialists, was 
ordered to remove with his Highlanders from Schiefelbein, and 
march to Stettin, to join the headquarters of the Kegiment. 

Lord Eeay had again to proceed to Great Britain.* Gustavus 
Adolphus wanted more men, and commissioned his Lordship to 
raise new levies, not only for completing the ranks of his own 
Kegiment, but also to form two new Regiments one English, and 
the other Scots. This he accomplished Sir John Conway being 
appointed to the command of the English, and Munro of Obisdell 
to the Scots. During Lord Keay's absence on this mission, the 
command of the Regiment was given to Lieut. -Colonel Munro. 

In January, 1631, the army left Stettin. The King, with 
about eight thousand horse and foot, marched to New Brandenburg, 
while the rest of the army was left at Landsberg, under Field 
Marshal Home. Arriving at New Brandenburg, the King arranged 
the order of battle. After some sharp cannonading on both sides, 

* A collection of holograph letters, written by Gustavus Adolphns to Lord 
Eeay, was lent by the Honourable George Mackay of Skibo, " to an individual of 
eminence in Edinburgh, but, probably by mere accident, never returned subse- 
quently to that gentleman's sudden decease. It is understood that those letters 
were of a deeply interesting kind, elucidating the true principles and character of 
that eminent prince, as well as those of his Scottish auxiliary and associate in 
warfare, whom Gustavus honoured with his unreserved confidence and intimate 
personal friendship. The representative havers [custodiers] of such interesting 
memorials can surely not be any way profited by prolonging their custody of 
them. '' (From a Newspaper notice on the death of Admiral the Hon. Donald 
Hugh Mackay, who died on the 26th March, 1850. ) 

Efforts have been made to discover the above-mentioned letters ; but hitherto 
without success, as it is not known in whose hands they now are. They would, 
without doubt, throw much light on the history of Mackay's Regiment ; and it is 
to be hoped they may some day be found and given to the public. 

Mackay's Regiment. 165 

the Highlanders stormed a Triangle or Eavelin, and forced the 
enemy to retire within the town, when, fearing a general storming 
of the place, they sent a drummer to desire a truce, so as to arrange 
terms of surrender. Conditions were agreed upon, and the garri- 
son, which, according to Munro, was a bravo little band " of five 
hundred Horse, and twelve hundred Foot, being as complete to 
look on as you could wish," were allowed to " march out with bagge 
and baggage Horse and Foot with full Armes " and a convoy to 

A small garrison was left in New Brandenburg, and the Swedish 
army pursued its march, taking various towns, and inflicting great 
damage on the Imperialists. Trepto, Letts, and Demmin were 
captured, and considerable booty fell to the share of the troops. 
At Demmin, the King highly commended the bravery and charity 
of the Highlanders, for a Swedish officer being left wounded within 
range of the enemy's cannon, and his own countrymen through fear 
refusing to bring him off, a small party of Mackay's Regiment 
rushed in and brought him away, " to their great praise," as Munro 
expresses it. 

In March, 1631, Gustavus Adolphus formed what was known 
as the Scots Brigade, giving the command to one of the bravest 
and ablest leaders of the age Sir John Hepburn. The Brigade 
consisted of four picked Scottish regiments, viz. : Hepburn's own 
Regiment, Mackay's Highlanders, Stargate's Regiment, and Lums- 
den's Musketeers. From the colour of the tartan of the High- 
landers, and the doublets of the other regiments, it was also some- 
times designated the Green Brigade. At this time Gustavus had 
upwards of thirteen thousand Scottish soldiers in his service. 

A movement was now made by the King towards the Oder, 
but before marching in that direction he increased the garrison of 
New Brandenburg, by leaving in it six companies, or nearly a thou- 
sand of the Highlanders, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel 
Lindsay, and an equal number of Swedes, under General Kniphausen. 
The King's object was to have Tilly's army detained there, while 
he prosecuted the campaign in another direction. 

New Brandenburg was in a wretched condition to stand a siege. 
The walls were in ruins, and the moat nearly filled up ; and there 
were only a couple of falconets or two-pounders, as the whole ar- 
tillery of the defenders. On the King's departure, Tilly at once 
brought up his army, which consisted of twenty-two thousand men, 
with twenty-six pieces of artillery, and beset the town on all sides. 
On surrounding the town, Tilly summoned the garrison to surrender, 
which, of course, they refused to do, and the siege immediately be- 

1 66 Gaelic Society of In verness. 

gan. It lasted nine days. The resistance was desperate. An ac- 
cidental blunder led the defenders to deem it their duty to hold 
out ; for although instructions to capitulate had been transmitted 
to General Kniphausen, yet, in some unaccountable manner, these 
instructions miscarried. Worn out, and seeing no chance of suc- 
cour, the defenders at last offered to surrender ; but Tilly now re- 
fused to give them any quarter. Then followed the last assault ; 
and after a stubborn and heroic resistance, the town was taken. A 
merciless slaughter was the result. On that memorable and miser- 
able occasion, the fury and cruelty of the Austrian General was ex- 
pended chiefly on our brave countrymen, for even the greater part 
of the prisoners taken, were barbarously murdered ; and over six 
hundred of Lord Eeay's Highlanders were on that day cut to pieces. 
Only two officers and a few men escaped by swimming the moat. 

In Colonel Mitchell's Life of Wallenstein it is stated : " This 
nine days' defence of an old rampart without artillery, proves how 
much determined soldiers can effect behind stone walls ; and it is 
exceedingly valuable in an age that has seen first-rate fortresses, 
fully armed, surrender before any part of the works had been in- 
jured often, indeed, at the very first summons." 

A lamentable account of the slaughter was brought to Sir John 
Hepburn by the two escaped officers, Captain Innes and Lieutenant 
Lumsden. It filled the whole camp with horror, and a vow of 
vengeance was uttered, which was soon to be fulfilled. 

When the dreadful information was received, Hepburn was on 
his way to Frankfort on the Oder, and there the Scots Brigade 
resolved they would be revenged for the slaughter of their country- 
men. The army was led by the King in person, and consisted of 
about ten thousand horse and foot, with a considerable force of 
artillery. Hepburn's Brigade formed the van of the army. 

Frankfort, being a rich and important city, was well defended. 
It was surrounded by strong ramparts with massive gates, and had 
then within its walls a garrison of ten thousand men, commanded 
by Counts Schomberg and Montecuculi. When the Swedish army 
drew near, the whole line of the " embattled wall . . . was 
bright with the glitter of" the Austrians' "helmets; while pike- 
heads, the burnished barrels of muskets, and sword blades, were 
seen incessantly flashing in the sunshine." 

Gustavus was not long in settling the plan of attack, and getting 
his army into position. This accomplished, he detailed Field 
Marshal Home to occupy the pass between Frankfort and Berlin, 
in order to prevent Tilly, who was known to be hurrying on, from 
attacking the Swedish army in the rear. 

Mackay's Regiment 167 

" On Sunday, in the morning, being Palme-Sunday (3rd April, 
1631) his Majestie with his whole Annie in their best apparell 
served God; his Majestie after Sermon, encouraging" the " Souldiers, 
wishing them to take their evil dayes they had then, in patience, 
and that he hoped before long to give them better dayes ; " and 
then commending " all to be in readiuesse, with their Armes, 
against the next orders," it was suspected by some that an attack 
would at once be made upon the city. Thereupon (very quietly 
adds Munro, as if it were a mere every day occurrence) a number 
of the men belonging to Sinclair's company, " provided themselves 
of some ladders." That is, without being commanded to do so, 
they got the materials ready, with which, in case of need, they 
might scale the walls, should the city be stormed. This shows 
that these Highlanders were imbued with the true spirit of soldier 
ship and military adventure. 

That afternoon the King issued orders for a general assault, 
and in the evening Frankfort was taken. The various points of 
attack having been decided upon, and the different Eegiments told 
off for their special services, the final order was given. It was 
this : that when the Swedish artillery fired a grand salvo against 
the walls, then, on the first discharge, and under cover of the 
smoke, Hepburn's and Banier's brigades " should advance to the 
storm e." Before the signal was given, it is reported that the King 
called Sir John Hepburn and another Scottish officer, Sir James 
Lumsden of Invergellie, and addressing them, said " Now, my 
valiant Scots, remember your brave Countrymen who were slain 
at New Brandenburg ! "* 

A trumpet sounded. The whole of the Swedish artillery poured 
a thundering discharge upon the enemy's works ; and the Scots 
Brigade, with levelled pikes, and led by Hepburn and Lumsden, 
rushed on to storm the Giiben gate. Both officers carried lighted 
petards ; and amid a cloud of fire and smoke, with bullets of every 
size lead, iron, and brass discharged by the Imperialists, from 
walls, parapets, and palisades, whizzing around them, they resolutely 
advanced and attached the small but powerful engines to the gate. 
The officers retired a few paces, the petards burst, and the strong 
gate was shivered into a thousand fragments. 

But the defenders were not unprepared for this. They had 
planted what Munro calls " a flake of small shot that shot a dozen 
of shot at once," and " two peeces of small ordinance" to guard the 
entrance. As the Scots Brigade advanced, these made tremendous 

* Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn. 

168 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

havoc in their dense ranks, while the Austrian musketeers, at the 
same time, poured volley after volley, which " made cruell and 
pittifull execution on our" countrymen. 

While Hepburn's own Regiment was advancing in this way, the 
Highlanders were approaching from another direction. They had 
crossed the moat amidst mud and water which came up to their 
gorgets (that is higher than the middle), and boldly planting their 
ladders, clambered over the sloping bastions under a tremendous 
fire, and carried the outer palisades. They were now close by the 
Guben gate. Sir John Hepburn, leading on his pikemen, was just 
then shot in the knee. He noticed Munro, with his Highlanders, 
and cried out to him (they were, as I have mentioned, old friends), 
" Bully, Munro, I am shot." He was carried away in great pain. 
His Major, " a resolute cavalier," who had advanced to take his 
place was also shot dead, " whereupon the Pikes falling back and 
standing still," wavered for a moment. " Forward ! " cried Munro 
to his Highlanders, " Advance, Pikes ! " and the gate was stormed 
in a twinkling. Side by side, with Hepburn's Eegiment now led 
by Lumsden, the Highlanders rushed on ; the Austrians were driven 
back in confusion ; and their own cannon being turned on them 
within the gate, many were literally blown to pieces. On Hepburn's 
men and the Highlanders pressed through one street, densely 
crowded with Imperial troops, followed by General Sir John Banier 
with his brigade, who pressed the enemy in another. Twice the 
retreating Imperialists beat a parley : but amid the roar of the 
musketry, the boom of the artillery, and the shouts and cries of the 
combatants, the sound of the drum was unheeded. Still the struggle 
continued, and the carnage went on. Inch by inch, every foot of 
the way was contested. " Quarter ! quarter ! " cried the slowly re- 
treating Austrians ; but to every such appeal the Scottish soldiers' 
only answer was " New Brandenburg ! Eemernber New Branden- 
burg ! " The Scots Brigade still pressed forward, and Highlander 
and Lowlander, shoulder to shoulder, advanced like moving castles, 
the long pikes levelled in front, while the rear ranks of musketeers 
volleyed in security from behind. It was a dreadful retribution. 
Four colonels, thirty-six other officers, and about three thousand 
soldiers of the Imperial army were left dead in the streets. Fifty 
colours were taken, and an immense quantity of treasure ; for whole 
streets were left " full of coaches and rusty waggons, richly fur- 
nished with all sorts of riches, as Plate, Jewells, Gold, Money, 
Clothes," &c., a great portion of which fell to the share of the vic- 
torious soldiery. 

The total loss sustained by Gustavus's army was about eight 

Mackay's Regiment 16'! 

hundred men ; and of this number three hundred belonged to the 
Scots Brigade. Two Colonels were the only officers of rank 

There was no wilful injury done to any of the inhabitants ; 
and as soon as order was restored, the King caused a day of thanks- 
giving to be observed for the victory. 

The army remained for a few days at Frankfort, and then Gus- 
tavus, leaving a small garrison behind, proceeded to Landsberg, a 
strongly fortified town, in the capture of which the Highlanders 
took a prominent part. Success attended the Swedish army, and 
in a short time " the Lion of the North " cleared Pomerania and 
Brandenburg of the Imperialists. The Highlanders returned to 
Frankfort, and remained there five weeks. Then followed a series 
of marchings and counter-marchings, in which there were frequent 
skirmishes but no pitched battles. In most of these the High- 
landers came in for a share of hard knocks, but " not being used 
to be beaten," they always came off with credit. 

The next service of importance was the battle of Leipzig, fought 
on the 7th September, 1631. This great battle was the most im- 
portant of the struggle, and may be said to have formed the pivot, 
on the turning of which the liberties of Germany of Europe 
depended. The Imperialists, under Tilly, numbered about forty- 
four thousand men, and the Swedish army, under Gustavus, about 
thirty thousand. At one time it seemed as if fortune were about to 
forsake the Swedish King, for the Saxon cavalry, on being charged 
by the Imperial horsemen, turned and fled, their cowardly leader 
being the first to quit the field, from which he rode ten miles with- 
out drawing bridle. The Imperialists finding the Saxon cavalry 
too swift for them, and seeing the Scottish regiments advancing, 
stopped, when their leader cried, " let us beat these curs, and then 
all Germany is our own;"* but the deadly fire of the Scottish 
musketeers checked their career, and emptied many a saddle. 
Hepburn, who was again able to take his command, was advancing 
with his Brigade, which he kept moving steadily on until they got 
so close to the Austrian soldiers, that the very colour of their eyes 
was visible. Then he gave the word, " Forward, pikes ! " In a 
moment the old Scottish weapon was levelled to the charge, and 
with a loud cheer, each of the four regiments rushed on the columns 
of Tilly, driving them back in irredeemable confusion, and with 
frightful slaughter. Lord Eeay's Highlanders " formed the leading 
column . . . and had the honour of first breaking the Austrian 

* Memoiri of Sir John Hepburn. 

1 70 Gaelic Society of In verness. 

ranks. They were [then] a thousand strong, composed of that 
nobleman's own immediate clansmen ; and the Imperialists re- 
garded them with terror, calling them the invincible old Regiment, 
and the right hand of Gustavus Adolphus."* 

I shall not attempt to describe the battle. The Imperialists 
suffered a most severe defeat, and their retreat from the battlefield 
was like a race for life. Unfortunately Gustavus did not follow 
up his victory by pursuing the enemy, and marching on to Vienna, 
where the panic was so great, that he could probably have arranged 
satisfactory terms, and so ended the war. This, at all events, is 
the opinion of some of the historians. 

Tilly was wounded and once taken prisoner, and was only res- 
cued after a desperate conflict. Though cruel, he was personally 
brave, and it is reported " burst into a passion of tears on beholding 
the slaughter of his soldiers, and finding that the field, after a five 
hours' struggle, was lost by the advance of Hepburn." He escaped, 
but he left many of his best officers, and nearly eight thousand 
soldiers, dead on the field. 

It was at Leipzig " that the Scottish regiments first practised 
firing in platoons, which amazed the Imperialists to such a degree 
that they hardly knew how to conduct themselves, "t 

The Scots Brigade was publicly thanked in presence of the 
whole army, and promised noble rewards, as we are told by Munro, 
who modestly adds " The battaile thus happily wonne, his Ma- 
jesty did principally under God ascribe the glory of the victory to 
the Sweds and Fynnes horsemen . . . yet it was the Scots 
Briggads fortune to have gotten the praise for the foote service ; 
and not without cause, having behaved themselves well, being led 
and conducted by an expert Cavalier and fortunat, the valiant 

The loss sustained by the Scottish soldiers is not mentioned ; 
but Gustavus's total loss did not exceed three thousand men, and of 
this number only seven hundred were of the Swedish army ; the 
rest being Saxons. One half of Gustavus's army on this occasion 
was made up of Saxons ; and, as I have mentioned, they early in 
the day tried to find safety in flight. The battle may therefore be 
said to have been an engagement bet\yeen fifteen thousand men on 
the part of the Swedish King, and forty-four thousand on that of 
the Emperor of Austria. 

Many prisoners were taken, and an immense amount of booty. 

* Hepburn's Memoirs. 
" f Harte's Life of Gustavus. 

Mackay's Regiment 171 

Of the prisoners, three thousand expressed themselves willing to 
take service with Gustavus, and were distributed among the Dutch 
Regiments. Munro relates that he requested the King's permission 
to fill up the ranks of Mackay's Regiment from among the British 
and Irish who might be among those three thousand, seeing that 
the Regiment had become weak from " the great losse sustained 
on all the former occasions of service." This request the King 
granted, and Munro went away " overjoyed, thinking to get a 
recreut of old Souldiers," but he was sadly disappointed, for 
there were only three Irish among the prisoners, and he declined 
to take them. 

" After the battle of Leipzig, with the sword in one hand, and 
nieicy in the other, Gustavus Adolphus traversed Germany as a 
conqueror, a lawgiver, and a judge, almost with as much rapidity 
as another could have done on a journey of pleasure, while the 
keys of towns and fortresses were delivered to him by the inhabit- 
ants as to their lawful sovereign."* 

I need not enumerate the various places that were taken by 
the " ever victorious army ; " but will merely mention that before 
the end of September, all the towns between Leipzig and Wurtz- 
burg had surrendered to the King. 

At Halle, Munro mentions he got " fifty old souldiers that took 
service in the Regiment." Here also, he adds, " His Majesty on 
the Sabbath day in the morning went to Church, to give thanks 
to God for his by-past victories : this Church being the Bishop's 
Cathedrall seate, I did heare there sung the sweetest melodious 
iQUsicke that could be heard, where I did also see the most beauti- 
ful women Dutchland could afoord." 

Oppenheim, an ancient town on the Rhine, with a strong castle, 
was taken in the month of December. The weather was bitterly 
cold, with frost and snow, and the Brigade had to lie in the fields, 
having no shelter but some bushes. The enemy's cannon plagued 
them much, especially at night, when the camp fires were lighted ; 
for the light from these fires served the enemy as a mark, and the 
Brigade suffered considerably in consequence from their shot. 
" Sitting one night at supper," says Munro, " a Bullet of thirty two 
pound weight, shot right out betwixt Colonell Hepburnes shoulder 
and mine, going through the Colonells Coach ; the next shot 
kill'd a Sergeant of mine, by the fire, drinking a pipe of Tobacco." 

The castle was taken the next day. The garrison, " being 
Italians," got " more honourable quarters than in truth their car- 

* Schillers' Thirty Years AVar. 

172 Gaelic Society of In verness. 

riage did deserve, having got licence to march out, Bag and Baggage, 
with full Armes." 

One hundred of Lord Eeay's Highlanders and one hundred of 
Lumsden's musketeers were placed in the castle, and Hepburn with 
the rest of the Brigade then crossed the Rhine to assist Gustavus 
in reducing the old castle of Oppenheim, a place of vast size and 

Mentz (or Mayence), reputed by the Germans of old the strongest 
of their fortresses, was the next important point to which Gustavus 
marched his army. " Colonell Hepburnes Briggad (according to 
use) was directed to the most dangerous Poste, next the enemy." 
They were cannonaded from the citadel, and of course lost many 

After being invested three days, the town was delivered up 
under a treaty, the garrison marching out, but without arms. 
" They being gone, quarters were made for the whole foote within 
the Towne, where three days before Christmasse we were quartered, 
and remained there, being lodged in the extremitie of the cold with 
the Hopstaffe,* to the fifth of March 1632." "At this siege," 
adds Munro, " our Briggad did sustaine more hurt than the rest of 
the Armie, being most employed on all commands, both in respect 
of their valour, and of the good conduct and fortune followed them, 
and their Leaders." 

On the oth of March, Hepburn's Brigade left Mentz. They 
had been ten weeks in that city, and were well rested after the 
severe campaign of the previous year. " Their arms and accoutre- 
ments were polished till they shone like silver in the spring sun- 
shine, as with their green silk standards unfurled, and their drums 
beating and tall pikes glittering " they " crossed the Ehine by the 
pontoon bridge. Lord Reay's Kilted Highlanders with pipes play- 
ing and matches lighted, formed the leading column of the brigade, 
which, conform to his orders, Hepburn marched straight to Frank- 
fort, on the Maine. "t From thence they marched to Aschaffen- 
burg, where they were reviewed by Gustavus and the King of 
B.ohemia. Then crossing the Maine, they commenced their march 
towards Bavaria, which the King had resolved to invade and clear 
of the Imperialists. Arriving at Weinsheim on the 10th, they 
were again reviewed by Gustavus and the King of Bohemia, and 
Hepburn was complimented on the fine appearance and distinguished 
bravery of his soldiers. The King of Bohemia expressed a deep 

* The principal officers of the staff, 
t Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn. 

Mackay's Regiment 173 

interest in the Scottish troops, as being the countrymen of Eliza- 
beth Stuart, his beautiful and high spirited Queen. 

Gustavus had mustered a large army at Weinsheim, there hav- 
ing been present at the review a force of twenty thousand horse 
and foot, besides artillery. After the review, the march was 
resumed. On the 26th, Donauworth was taken. It was a short 
but sharp conflict. Here Hepburn was again publicly thanked 
for his good services, the whole honour of the capture being ascribed 
to his courage, and the masterly conduct of his soldiers ; for, says 
Munro, " had it not beene for the valour of the Scots Briggad, they 
had all beene lost and defeated by " the enemy. 

The following incident in connection with the taking of Donau- 
worth is related. The Eex Chancellor Oxenstiern ordered the Dutch 
regiments to march towards the enemy, and " beate the Scots march, 
thinking thereby to affright the enemy ; but it fell out contrary." 
The Imperialists charged. The Dutch at once turned and fled, 
and " made a base retreate," but the Scots coming up, resisted the 
enemy, and gave " the victory that before was doubtful " to the 

After resting four days at Donauworth, Gustavus, having re- 
ceived large reinforcements, advanced at the head of thirty-two 
thousand horse and foot, to force the passage of the Lech. On the 
Bavarian side of the river, Tilly, with a large body of troops, lined 
the banks at the very point towards which Gustavus was marching 
with his army. They came in view of each other on the 5th April, 
and the battle at once began. The bronzed veterans of Tilly stood 
firm, and for thirty-six hours a cross fire was maintained by the 
artillery of the two armies, from opposite sides of the stream. The 
Austrians suffered severely. Tilly, then seventy-two years of age, 
was shot in the leg, and from the nature of his wound was forced 
to retire. Deprived of the animating presence of their leader, the 
Austrians gave way and retreated. Gustavus then crossed the 
river, the Scots Brigade forming the van, for in every desperate 
duty they had the post of honour. Three days afterwards Tilly 
expired in great agony at Ingolstadt, to which city he had retreated 
with a portion of his army. 

Gustavus, with his invincibles, swept on like a comet ! City 
after city was taken, and in a short time the whole of Bavaria, as 
far as the barriers of the Capital, lay open to his soldiers, whose 

* Grant in his Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn says, The Dutch here resorted 
to their old ruse of beating the Scottish March, as they approached the enemy ; 
and again, The Dutch in Gustavus's service were many times glad to beat " the 
old Scots march " when they designed to frighten or alarm the enemy. 

174 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

valour seemed to be irresistible. On the 6th of May the victorious 
army halted before Munich. 

Fearing that resistance might be made, Gustavus sent Hepburn 
with his brigade round the town, by a circuitous road, to the bridge 
of the Iser ; where, arriving in the night, they remained under 
arms till daybreak. Then the Scots Brigade had the honour of 
first entering the city. " The din of their drums beating the old 
Scots March, mingled with the wild war pipes of Lord Jteay's 
Highlanders, ringing in the empty and stately streets of the Bavarian 
Capital, spread terror and consternation among the citizens ; " but 
the leading men had faith " in the magnanimity of the conqueror 
and the mercy of his chivalric soldiers," and received Gustavus and 
his army with all due respect. 

Only the Scottish Eegiments were permitted to have their 
quarters within the walls of Munich, the rest of the army being 
encamped outside the city ; and to the Highlanders was entrusted 
the honourable duty of being body-guard to the King during the 
three weeks they were in the Bavarian Capital. The Highland 
pikemen stood in all the doorways and staircases, and the officers 
were not permitted to leave their guards, having their meals served 
up from the King's own table.* This preference excited the jeal- 
ousy of the Swedes and Dutch. Munro says We were " ordained 
to lie in the great Courte of the Palace, night and day at our 
Annes, to guard both the Kings persone, and to set out all Guards 
about the Palace, where I was commanded with our whole officers, 
not to stirre off our watch, having allowance of Table and diet for 
us and our officers within his Majesties house, to the end we might 
the better look to our watch : and the command of directions under 
stayers [stairs] was put upon me, being then Commander of the 
Guards ; where I had power over the whole officers belonging to 
the house, and might have commanded to give out anything to 
pleasure Cavaliers ; having stayed in this charge three weekes nobly 

On the 1st June the King issued orders to Hepburn to leave 
Munich with the Scots Brigade for Donauworth, where they were 
to join the main army. From Donauworth they marched to Furth, 
a few miles from Nurnberg, and there Gustavus at once made pre- 
parations for opposing Wallenstein, the Imperialist Commander in 
Chief, who was reported to be advancing with great rapidity, and 
only a few days' march distant. He had a force of about sixty 
thousand men, while Gustavus had then only eighteen thousand. 

* Memoirs'of Sir John Hepburn. 

Mackay's Regiment. 175 

Gustavus. however, occupied a good position, which he resolved 
to strengthen and defend. The people of Nurnberg, moreover, 
were favourable to his cause, and immediately raised twenty-four 
companies of musketry for his assistance. He also called upon the 
Duke of Saxe Weimar and others for aid, which was at once 
granted. Protestant soldiers too, of all nations flocked to his 
banner ; and by the end of July he found himself at the head of 
an army of seventy thousand men. 

Here unfortunately Hepburn quarrelled with Gustavus, and left 
his service. Various reasons have been assigned as the cause of 
the quarrel, one of which is that the King upbraided Hepburn on 
account of his religion, which was Roman Catholic, and which he 
prized more than his life. He had left Scotland to fight for Eliza- 
beth Stuart, and not for the Protestant cause, although, as we know, 
her cause became that of Protestantism. But, whatever the quarrel, 
Hepburn resigned his commission, and haughtily withdrew. He 
returned to Britain, and six months later entered the service of 

Gustavus had placed more confidence in him than in any other 
officer (he was seven years in his service), and " made several con- 
descensions to Hepburn and appeared particularly desirous of re- 
taining so valuable an officer in his service ; but the Scottish hero 
was inflexible. Unable to brooke an imaginary insult even for a 
moment, ' Sire,' replied the fiery cavalier, laying his hand upon his 
rapier, ' I will never more unsheath this sword in the quarrels of 
Sweden.' "* 

No one regretted the departure of Hepburn more than Munro. 
They were very old friends. I was " ever much obliged to him," 
writes Munro, " not only for his love . . . but also for his 
good counsel!, he being long before me in the Sivedens service. 
And as we were oft Camerades of danger together ; so being long 
acquainted we were Camerades in love : first at Colledge, next in 
our tra veils in France, at Paris and Poictiers Anno 1615, till we 
met againe in Spruce [East Prussia] at Elben in August 1630. . . . 
Who is more worthy to be chosen for a friend, than one who hath 
showne himselfe both valiant and constant against his enemies, as 
the worthy Hepburne hath done, who is generally so well known 
in Armies, that he needs no testimony of a friend, having credit 
and reputation enough amongst his enemies." 

It was not, however, till after the battle of Nurnberg had been 
fought, and the army of Gustavus had retired to Newstadt, that 

* Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn. 

1 76 Gaelic Society of In verness. 

Hepburn left his old friends. Although refusing to take any active 
part in the engagement, he yet, by his advice and otherwise, was of 
great service. When he did leave, all the Scottish officers in the 
Swedish army accompanied him a long German mile* on the road ; 
and when the moment of parting came, it was like the separation 
which " death makes betwixt friends and the soule of men, being 
sorry that those who lived so long together in amitie and friend- 
ship, as also in mutuall dangers, in weale and in woe, and fearing 
we should not meet againe, the splendour of our former mirth was 
obnubilated with a cloud of griefe and sorrow ; which vanished and 
dissolved in mutuall teares of love, severing from other, in love and 
amitie ; wishing one another the mutuall enterchange of our affec- 
tions, as souldiers, and not as complementing courtiers." 

The two armies had now been lying in sight of each other in- 
trenched in their respective camps for about six weeks, and no 
regular engagement had taken place between them. There had 
been a good deal of skirmishing and intercepting of convoys, but 
nothing further the one was waiting for the other to begin the 
attack. Provisions had for some time been getting scarce in both 
camps it was next to impossible for either to get supplies, and the 
people in the town were almost in a state of starvation. It was ne- 
cessary, therefore, that a decisive step should be taken. 

On the 22nd August, the battle may be said to have begun, and 
the fighting, which continued for three days, was of a most desperate 
character. Munro had been appointed to the command of the Scots 
Brigade on the resignation of Hepburn, and on his first service in 
that capacity was severely wounded. Many of his officers were 
killed, and the Brigade suffered so severely that there were hardly 
pikemen left to guard the colours. The musketeers also suffered, 
but not in an equal degree. It was a drawn battle. Both parties 
remained in their respective positions till the 14th September, when, 
leaving five thousand men in Nurnberg, Gustavus retreated " to- 
wards Neustadt, leaving no less than ten thousand citizens and 
twenty thousand soldiers dead behind him, in and around Uurn- 
berg ; for such were the terrible effects of sickness, famine, and the 
casualties of war."* 

When the Imperialists discovered that the army of Gustavus had 
left, they also took their departure from Nurnberg, burning all the 
villages that were near. They took a northerly direction, marching to 
Forchheim, while Gustavus had moved towards the west and south. 

* A German mile is equal to three and a half English miles, 
t Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn. 

Mackay's Regiment 177 

The Scots Brigade was so reduced in numbers that, when they 
got to Dunkelsbiihl about the end of September, the King gave 
orders that they should go into quarters for rest, and to wait re- 
cruits. His Majesty took leave of the remnant of the Brigade in 
view of the whole army, thanking them for their past services, and 
saying he was grieved to leave them behind. He appointed quar- 
ters for them, the best in Swabia, and then calling upon the Count- 
palatine Christian, recommended them particularly to his care, and 
ordered that all moneys due them should be paid up. He hoped, 
he said, he would find the Eegiments strengthened against his 

Munro, somewhat recovered from his wounds, took leave of 
the King at Donau worth on the llth of October. They never met 
again, for within one month after their parting, the great Gustavus 
was slain on the plains of Liitzen, near Leipzig.* This was on the 
6th November, 1632. It is remarkable that this unfortunate occa- 
sion was the only one in which he had engaged the enemy without 
the mass of his Scottish troops. But although the King was slain, 
victory remained with the Swedish army ; for Wallenstein and his 
Imperialists were totally defeated, and forced to retreat to the 
Mountains of Bohemia. 

With Gustavus were buried the hopes of the Elector Frederick, 
who, finding the Bohemian throne was lost to him for ever, died 
soon after, it is said, of chagrin and grief. 

The death of " the Lyon of the North, the invincible King of 
Sweden," was a great blow to the cause for which he had been 
righting, and which he had so much at heart. Munro seems almost 
to have worshipped him, and in his panegyric says " if Apelles 
with his skill in painting, and Cicero with his tongue in speaking, 
were both alive, and pressed to adde anything to the perfection of 
our Master, Captaine and King, truely the ones best Colours, and 
the others best Words were not able to adde one shaddow to the 
brightnesse of his Eoyall Minde and Spirit ; So that while the 
world stands, our King, Captaine and Master cannot be enough 

* Several officers who had served in Mackay's Regiment were with Gustavus 
at Liitzen ; and William Mackay (son of Donald of Scoury), then a lieutenant- 
colonel of Swedes, fell there along with his Commander. 

The large rowelled spurs which Gustavus had on when he was slain are pre- 
served in the museum of the Society of Antiquaries, Edinburgh. They were taken 
off his boots on the field of battle, by Colonel Hugh Somerville, then his aide-de- 
camp, and presented to the Society by Sir G. Colquhoun on the 8th July, 1761. 
They are interesting relics, in so far as they were worn by one who was probably 
the greatest military genius of the seventeenth century, and under whom so many 
Scotsmen of eminence served and learned the art of war. 


178 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

There is now but little more to say regarding Mackay's High- 
landers. In the summer of 1632, Lord Reay had decided to take 
no further personal share in the command, and, while the Regiment 
was at Nurnberg, sent instructions to Munro to deal with the King 
for the making up of the Regiment, which was then greatly reduced. 
Hence, probably, one of the reasons why Gustavus sent the Regi- 
ment into quarters to wait for recruits. 

Although sent to Swabia to rest, the Scots Brigade were not 
allowed to be idle. They, along with some Swedes, and Sir John 
Ruthven's Brigade, were marched to Landsberg, which they be- 
sieged. When the town was invested, there arose a rivalry or 
" contestation of vertue," between the Scotsmen, as to which of 
them, with their approaches, should first come to the wall. But 
the Highlanders had the best of it, as Ruthven's Brigade " could 
not but acknowledge ; . . . for in effect," says Munro, " we 
were their Schoolmasters in Discipline," and they " were forced, 
notwithstanding of their diligence, to yield the precedency unto us, 
being older blades than themselves." 

Landsberg was taken ; and then, instead of returning to their 
appointed quarters, " to rest and recruit," the Scottish Regiments 
were kept constantly on the move ; and many a weary march they 
had, and many a stubborn fight. The shores of the Danube had 
to be scoured by the hardy band ; Kauf beuren had to be stormed ; 
and Kempten to be besieged ; and, in addition, many a small town 
and fortress, which had been taken possession of by the enemy, 
had to be recaptured, and held for the representatives of Gustavus. 

Munro mentions that during these movements he was unable 
to walk, owing to his wounds, so he commanded his troops on 
horseback, from which it may be inferred that a Colonel of In- 
fantry in those days led his men on foot, like the Captain of a 

In July, 1633, the Scottish Regiment, which had been raised 
about three years previously by Lord Reay, at the request of Gustavus 
Adolphus, and the command of which had been given to Munro of 
Obisdell,* was so reduced in numbers that only two companies 
were left. These two companies were, by orders of Rex Chancellor 
Oxenstiern, handed over to Munro, and joined to Lord Reay's 

Munro was very desirous of having the Regiment made up to 
its full strength, and shortly afterwards left Germany for Scotland, 
to procure recruits. Lieutenant-Colonel John Sinclair (brother of 

* Brother of Lieut, -Colonel Munro, the author of the Expedition. 

Mackay's Regiment 179 

the Earl of Caithness) got command of the Eegiment on his de- 
parture ; but Sinclair was killed at the battle of Xeumark, almost 
immediately thereafter. The command then devolved on Major 
William Stewart (brother of the Earl of Traquair), who thus be- 
came Lieutenant-Colonel of the Regiment. 

Recruits arrived from time to time, and within twelve 
months after Munro's departure the ranks of the Highlanders 
were well made up ; for in 1634 they again mustered twelve 
companies, or from eighteen hundred to two thousand men. 
That was a disastrous year for them, for on the 26th of August, the 
terrible battle of Nordlingen was fought. 

After the death of Gustavus, jealousy on the part of the leaders 
of the Swedish army prevented that unanimity of action among the 
generals, which is so necessary for the successful carrying out of 
any campaign. At the battle of Nordlingen the disastrous eifects 
of this were painfully exemplified, for the petty jealousies of those 
in command led to no properly defined plan of attack having been 
arranged, and the result was that after a desperate struggle, the 
Imperialists, under Ferdinand, the young King of Hungary, and 
Generals Gallas and Von Werth, gained a complete victory over 
the Swedes. Field Marshal Home, one of the best and bravest 
of the Swedish ofiicers, was taken prisoner. But, notwithstanding 
these jealousies, had the other sections of the Swedish army fought 
as well as the Highlanders, the result would have been different. 
It was a dreadful day for Mackay's Regiment, for out of the twelve 
companies of which it was then composed, only one company sur- 
vived, the rest having literally been cut to pieces. This was such 
a frightful disaster that the Regiment did not recover from the loss. 

Nearly all the German allies of Sweden deserted her after the 
defeat at Nordlingen, and selfishly entered into a treaty with 
Austria, for the security of their territories. 

Called in originally to assist the German Protestants, the 
Swedes found themselves, after years of hard fighting, all at once 
deserted by the very men for whose liberties they had been shed- 
ding their blood, and regarded as foreigners and intruders, whom it 
was expedient to get rid of as quickly as possible. The whole 
weight of the war was thus thrown upon Sweden. But a new and 
unexpected ally against Austria was soon found. That ally was 
France. The war which had been begun for a noble purpose 
then assumed the character of a struggle for the most selfish 
ends. France was jealous of the immense power of Austria, 
and had long been waiting for a favourable opportunity to take a 
part in the conflict. That moment had arrived, and it seemed that 

1 80 Gaelic Society of In verness. 

French interests could best be served by co-operating with Sweden. 
The war after this was waged between France, Sweden, and one 
or two of the small German States on the one hand, and Austria, 
with the vast majority of the German States, on the other. I need 
not enter further into the details of the struggle. Ultimately 
Sweden and her allies triumphed, the power of Austria was much 
curtailed, and the thirty years' war came to an end. The treaty 
of peace was signed on the 24th of October, 1648. I may men- 
tion that, by that treaty France obtained the sovereignty of Upper 
and Lower Alsace, and a number of minor properties, which, after 
holding for upwards of two hundred years, she had to resign to 
Germany, as the result of the late Franco-German war. 


But what about the few Highlanders who survived the battle 
of Nordlingen 1 The story is soon told. 

After that disaster the remnants of the Scottish regiments were 
placed under the command of Duke Bernard of Saxe- Weimar, who 
for a considerable time hovered about the Khine, and kept the Im- 
perialists at bay. When the agreement had been arranged between 
Sweden and France, it was decided that Duke Bernard's troops 
should be taken into the pay of the latter country ; and shortly 
afterwards a junction was formed at Landau between Duke Ber- 
nard's forces and the French troops, which were under the command 
of Marshal de la Force and Sir John Hepburn. Duke Bernard 
had only a small army, " but there were none save brave and ex- 
perienced men in it ; and the officers were all soldiers of fortune, 
who expected to raise their fame by the sword alone." The foot 
consisted almost entirely of Scotsmen, and were all that remained 
of the thirteen gallant regiments which had served so long and so 
bravely under Gustavus. Among those veterans were the remnants 
of Hepburn's own old regiment, and the one remaining company of 
Mackay's Highlanders. " All greeted their old commander with 
acclamation and joy, by beating the Scottish march as he approached, 
while a deafening cheer rang along their sunburnt lines, and the 
last solitary piper o/ MACKAY'S HIGHLANDERS blew long and loudly 
a note of welcome on the great war pipe of the north ; and as they 
all wished to ' take service ' under him in France, the whole were 
incorporated into one corps, to be styled in future Le Regiment d' 
Hebron."* . . . "It consisted of 3 field officers, viz., 

* Hepburn's name is spelled in this way in the French military records. 

Mackay's Regiment 181 

Colonel Sir John Hepburn, Lieutenant-Colonel Munro, and 
Major Sir Patrick Monteith ; 45 captains ; 1 captain-lieutenant ; 
45 lieutenants ; 48 ensigns ; 4 surgeons ; 6 adjutants ; 2 chaplains ; 
1 drum-major ; 1 piper ; 88 sergeants ; 288 corporals ; 288 
lance-pesades ; 96 drummers ; in all 48 companies, consisting of 
150 musketeers and pikemen each making a grand total of 
8116 men ; and forming altogether, when their experience and 
valour, spirit, bearing, and splendour of equipment are considered, 
one of the finest regiments that ever unfurled its banners in battle. 
In itself it represented many other corps ; the Bohemian bands of 
Sir Andrew Gray, all the Scottish regiments of Gustavus, and even 
the Scottish Archer Guard of the French kings, to which venerable 
body many of its officers belonged."* 

The new regiment, by orders of the King, took precedence of all 
others in the service of France. I shall mention one anecdote 
about it. 

Frequent quarrels and jealousies took place between Hepburn's 
officers and the officers of a French regiment, known as that of 
Picardy. The Picardy regiment had been raised in the year 1562, 
and considered itself the oldest in the service of France. But Hep- 
burn's Regiment, " in consequence of having had incorporated with 
it some of the Scottish Archer Guard (which dated its origin to the 
period of the eighth crusade, 1249-1270), considered its rights to 
priority to be indisputable. This claim to antiquity the regiment of 
Picardy treated with ridicule, as beiugsomewhat overstrained, and nick- 
named Hepburn's corps Pontius Pilate's Guards, a sobriquet which 
the First Regiment of Foot (the Royal Scots) retains at the present 
day. On one occasion, after a sharp dispute, one of Hepburn's officers 
said to an officer of the regiment of Picardy, " You must be mis- 
taken, Sir ; for had we really been the guards of Pontius Pilate, and 
done duty at the sepulchre, the Holy Body had never left it ! " 
This was a keen and a sarcastic retort, implying that if the Scottish 
sentinels had been there, they would not have slept at their posts, 
whereas it was well known that the regiment of Picardy had been 
guilty of such a serious military offence, t 

I need not attempt to carry the story of Mackay's Regiment 
further ; for, reduced to a single company, and embodied in a new 
and mixed regiment, its individual characteristics were lost, and 
as a separate corps it ceased to exist. But the services of the Regi- 
ment are matters of history. 

* Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn, 
t Hepburn's Memoirs. 

182 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Munro has a few observations about it which, are worthy of 
consideration. He says, the discipline and service of the Eegi- 
meut were of so high a character that many that were trained in it 
rose " from souldiers to be inferiour officers, and then for their 
preferments and advancements " they left their old leaders, being 
promoted to other regiments ;* " for having attained to a little 
experience under this Regiment, they are now like the Eagles birds, 
that how soon they can but flee, they take command on themselves, 
and that most worthily, knowing it is ambition grounded upon 
vertue, makes the meanest Souldier mount from the lowest centrie 
[sentry] to the top of honour to be a Generall : as some of our 
worthy Countrimen have done under the Crowne of Sweden, to 
their eternall glory." 

Again, he says, even their enemies " could not but duely 
prayse them, calling them the Invincible old Regiment 
so that Mackeyes name was very frequent through the glorious 
fame of this never dying Regiment, never wrong'd by fortune in 
their fame, though divers times by their enemies valour they sus- 
tained both losse and hurt : But would to God, we had always met 
man to man, or that our Army had consisted all of such men and 
such officers, whereof I was the unworthiest ! If so had beene our 
conquest had extended so farre as the Romanes of old did extend 
the limits and borders of their Empire." 

Of a different character is the following observation, with the 
closing part of which, I am sure, all military commanders will 
agree. From what Munro says, it will be seen that however 
severely the Kegiment suffered during its many engagements, yet, 
when in quarters, officers and men, as a rule, were very comfortably 
off. " This Kegiment in nine yeeres . . . had ever good 
lucke to get good quarters, where they did get much good wine, 
and great quantity of good beere. . . . They were oft merry 
with the fruits and juice of the best berries that grew in those 
Circles ; for to my knowledge they never suffered either penury or 
want, I being the Leader, but of times I did complaine and grieve at 
their plenty, seeing they were better to be commanded, when they 
dranke water, than when they got too much bee-re or wine." 

But I must now return to le Regiment d' Hebron. Hepburn 

* Among the " inferiour officers " who were advanced to other commands, 
Munro mentions " Captaine Cfunne, Lievetenant Brumfield, Lievetenant Dum- 
barre, Lievetenant Mackey, Lievetenant Southerland, Ensigne Denune, and 
diverse more, which were preferred under Ruthven's Regiment." 

Captain Gunn became afterwards Colonel of a Dutch Regiment, and was 
knighted by King Charles I. for his bravery at the Brig of Dee. 

Mackay's Regiment 183 

unfortunately did not live to command it long. He was killed at 
the battle of Saverne, on the 21st July, 1636. His fall was deeply 
regretted by the whole army and Court of France, for he was looked 
up to as " the best soldier in Christendom, and consequently in the 
world." After his death, the Regiment was known as le Regiment 
de Douglas, from the name of its new commander, Lord James 

Though serving under foreign powers, these Scottish soldiers 
of fortune were yet true to their own King and country. Thus, 
in 1661, on the call of King Charles the Second, after the Restora- 
tion, the remains of what had been Hepburn's Regiment came over 
to England. They remained in Britain for eight years, when they 
returned to France, and continued in the service of that country 
till 1678, when they were again called home and incorporated with 
the British Army. They are now known as the ROYAL SCOTS, or 
First Regiment of Foot, and take precedence of all other regiments 
of the line.* This is probably the oldest regiment in the world ; 
for, having been partly formed from the Scottish Archers in the 
service of France, it may be said to have been embodied for up- 
wards of six hundred years ; and it certainly is one of the most 
celebrated, for its records show that since the battle of Bauge, in 
1421, at which it greatly distinguished itself (being then the body- 
guard of the King of France), it has taken part in 228 battles and 
sieges, exclusive of the later wars of the Crimea and India. " No 
other regiment in the world can show such a roll of glory ! "t 

I have thus narrated the principal services in which the Regi- 
ment was engaged, from its formation by Sir Donald Mackay, the 
first Lord Rcay, in 1626, to the time when it lost its identity as a 
separate regiment, in 1635, by becoming a portion of le regiment d' 
Hebron, in the service of France. I have also shown how the 
successors of Hepburn's veterans became incorporated in the British 
army, under the name of the ROYAL SCOTS ; and that the survivors 
of the brave men who formed the " Old Invincibles" of Gustavus 

* A portion of the Scots Guards in the service of France, were sent by the 
King of that country to Scotland, in 1633, to be present at the coronation of King 
Charles I. They remained in Britain about twelve years, when they returned to 
France " and continued to serve there with little interruption, till 1678, when 
they finally re-entered the British service." [Records of Royal Scots.} On re- 
turning to France, these soldiers of the Scottish Guards were incorporated with 
Hepburn's Regiment, but then known, however, as Douglas's, from the name of 
its commander, as has been already stated. And from having served in Scotland 
in 1633, as mentioned above, the Royal Scots data from that year in the Army 

t Cassell's " British Battles." 

184 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Adolphus (that is Mackay's Highlanders)* constituted no incon- 
siderable part of that celebrated regiment. Their whole service is 
a record of which any nation may be proud, what then might be 
said when their equipment was the work of one individual ? 

The raising and transporting of so many men cost Lord Eeay 
a very large sum of money ; and, unfortunately, by the untimely 
death of the King of Sweden, he was not re-imbursed for the heavy 
outlay he had incurred in his service. From first to last he sent 
over to " the German wars " upwards of 5000 men, and Munro 
says, " our noble Colonell did engage his estates, and adventured 
his person " for the good cause. " Such was his sense of dignity, 
that, it is said, he asked no money from the King to furnish his 
troops till after their arrival in Germany ; and as the King was 
killed soon after the last levies were sent, Lord Eeay himself had 
to bear the loss of his outlays ; only he had the consolatory reflec- 
tion that his loss was sustained in the best of causes. It was not 
with a sordid view of gain that he undertook his expeditions, 
for there was nothing sordid in his composition ; . . . . 
but first from loyalty . . . and love of honour ; and after- 
wards from a regard to the protestant religion, which he had pre- 
viously conceived at home, and in Denmark, "f 

To meet the debts he had thus contracted, he was obliged to 
sell his lands in Eoss-shire and Caithness, and, saddest of all, the 
district of Strathnaver. But there was no other way by which he 
could get out of the difficulty, and so the lands had to go. No 
one, so far as our country is concerned, did more for the cause of 
liberty than the first Lord Eeay, and no clan shed more of its best 
blood in the same cause than the Clan Mackav. 


The following list is made up from the various works consulted 
in compiling the foregoing narrative, and consists of the names of 
officers who served with the Eegiment from its formation in 1626, 
to the battle of Nordlingen in 1634. It is, however, not quite 
complete, as no record has been preserved of the names of many 
of the junior officers. 

* The author of the Characteristics of the Highland Soldiers, says of Mackay's 
Regiment, while serving under Gustavus Adolphus, "they were his right hand 
in battle, brought forward in all dangerous enterprises ; and they may, like him- 
self, be said to have fallen in the field, and to have been buried with the honours 
of vi*.r." History of the House and Clan of Mackay. 

t History of the House and Clan of Mackay. 

Mackay's Regiment 185 

Munro, in his list of Scottish Officers that sewed under Gustavus 
Adolphus, gives Field Officers only, and adds : " Diverse Captaines 
and inferiour Officers of the Nation followed the Army 
which I omit out of the List ; " while most others who have 
written about the Scottish Soldier abroad, have been contented 
with giving the names of a few of the leadirg officers only. 

The list is arranged in two divisions. The first contains the 
names of those officers whose rank in the Eegiment I have been 
able to ascertain, the second those whose rank I have not been 
able to find out ; and in both I have mentioned the rank to which 
a number of the officers attained after quitting the Eegiment and 
entering on other service. The two divisions combined, contain 
the names of all officers who served in the Eegiment, whose names 
are recorded, so far as I have been able to discover. 

The Eegiment was quite a Military School. Numbers of gentle- 
men, from all parts of the country, joined it as junior officers, for 
the purpose of learning the art of war (and some also indeed served 
in the ranks) ; but they left as soon as they believed they had 
acquired sufficient skill, to take upon themselves the responsibilities 
of a command. This accounts for so many names which are foreign 
to the North of Scotland being found in the list. 


Sir Donald Mackay, first Lord Eeay, Scorched by powder at Olden- 

Eobert Monro (author of the Ex- 
pedition), .... Wounded in various battles. 

Lieutenant - Colonels. 

Arthur Forbes (son of Lord Forbes), Died in Holstein. 

Alexander Seton, Wounded at Oldenburg. 

John Lindsay of Bainshaw, . . Killed at New Brandenburg. 
' John Sinclair (son of the Earl of 

Caithness), .... Killed at Neumarke. 
William Stewart (brother of the 

Earl of Traquair), . . . Wounded at Oldenburg. 


James Dunbar, .... Killed at Bredenburg. 
John Forbes of Tulloch, . . Killed at Nordlingen. 

* The names, beginning with the Majors, are arranged alphabetically, and not 
according to seniority. 

186 Gaelic Society of Inverness, 

Majors (continued). 

John Forbes, .... Afterwards Colonel of Dutch. 

William Keith, .... 

David Munro, .... Scorched by powder at Eckern- 


William Sennott, . . . Died of the Plague at Stettin. 

Francis Sinclair (son of James of 

Murkle), .... Afterwards a Lieut. -Colonel. 
Wilson, .... 


Annan, .... 

Armiss, , Wounded at Stralsund. 

Beatoun, .... Wounded at Stralsund. 

Boswell, .... Murdered by the Boors at 

William Bruntsfield, . . . Afterwards Major in Ruthven's 


Bullion, .... 

Carmichael, .... Killed at Bredenburg. 

Dumaine, .... Died at Frankfort. 

Duncan, .... 

Duncan Forbes, .... Killed at Bredenburg. 

Adam Gordon, .... 

William Gunn, .... Afterwards Colonel of a Dutch 

Regiment, and Knighted 

by King Charles I. 
Alexander Hay, .... Afterwards Lieut. -Colonel of 


George Heatley, .... Killed at Oberlin. 
Robert Hume, .... 
Patrick Innes, .... Killed at Nurnberg. 
Robert Innes, .... Afterwards a Lieut.-Colonel. 
William Kerr, .... Wounded at Eckernfiord. 
John Learmonth (brother of Lord 

Balcomy), .... Killed at Boitzenburg. 

Learmonth, .... 

William Lumsden (the sole survivor 
of the Massacre at Bredenburg), 
Sir Patrick Mackay of Lairg, in 

Galloway, .... Died of wounds received at 


Mackay's Regiment 187 

Captains (continued). 

lye Mackay (son of William of Big- 
house, ..... 

William Mackay (son of Donald of 

Scoury), .... Afterwards Lieut. -Colonel of 

Swedes, and killed at 

William Mackay, 

Thomas Mackenzie (brother of Earl 

Seaforth), .... Wounded at Eckernfiord. 

Moncreiffe, .... Killed at New Brandenburg. 

Andrew Munro, .... Killed in a duel at Femern. 

Hector Munro of Fowlis, who suc- 
ceeded his brother, and was 
made a Baronet, . . . Afterwards a Colonel of Dutch. 

John Munro of Obisdell, . . Afterwards Colonel of a Scots 


John Munro (commonly called 

Assynt Munro), . . . Afterwards a Lieut. -Colonel. 

Robert Munro of Fowlis, . . Afterwards Colonel of Swedes. 

Pomfrey, .... 

Nicholas Ross, .... 

George Stewart, .... Afterwards Lieut. -Colonel of 

Conway's Regiment. 

Alexander Tulloch, 

Trafford, .... 


Arthur Arbuthnott, . . . Wounded at Stralsund. 

Barbour, .... Killed at Bredenburg. 

Brumfield, .... Promoted in Ruthven's Regi- 

D unbar, .... Promoted in Ruthven's Regi- 

Keith, .... Killed at New Brandenburg. 

James Lyell, .... Afterwards Captain in Ruth- 
ven's Regiment, and mur- 
dered in Westphalia. 

Mackay, .... Promoted in Ruthven's Regi- 

David Martin, .... Killed at Boitzenburg. 

Hugh Ross, of Priesthill, . . Wounded at Oldenburg. 

188 Gaelic Society of Inverness- 

Lieutenants (continued). 

Andrew Stewart (brother of Earl of 

Traquair), . . . . Died of wounds received at 

Eobert Stewart, .... Afterwards a Colonel of Lums- 

den's Pikemen. 
Sutherland, .... Promoted in Euthven's Eegi- 


Ensigns. , 

Patrick Dunbar, .... Wounded at Stralsund. 

Denoon, .... Promoted in Euthven's Eegi- 


Hadden, .... Killed at Kew Brandenburg. 

John Rhode, .... 

Scaton, .... Killed at Stralsund. 

Officers wliose remit is not recorded. 

Gavin Allan, .... 

Barrie, .... 

Eobert Farquhar, .... Afterwards Knighted by King 

Charles II. 

Arthur Forbes, . . ... 

Hugh Gordon, . . ... Wounded at Oldenburg. 
John Gordon, .... Afterwards Colonel of Dutch. 
John Gordon, . . ,o4-Mi 

Graeme, .... 

George Gunn, . . 

John Gunn, . . . . 

John Innes (son of William of 

Sandside), .... Killed at Stralsund. 

Johnstone, .... 

Henry Lindesay, . . . . Afterwards Lieut. -Colonel in 

Leslie's Eegiment. 

Lindesay, .... 

Eobert Lumsden, .... Afterwards Lieut.-Colonel. 

Hugh Mackay, .... 

David Martin, . 

Andrew Munro, . . . Killed at Oldenburg. 

David Munro, . . . . Wounded at Oldenburg. 

Farquhar Munro, .... Killed at Oldenburg. 

Celtic Etymologies. 189 

Officers whose rank is not recorded (continued). 

Hugh Mowatt, .... 

Hugh Murray, .... 

Murdoch Poison, .... Killed at Oldenburg. 

David Ross (son of Alexander of 

Semple, .... 

William Forbes. 
Murdoch Mackenzie, . . . Afterwards Minister of Suddie, 


And the Chaplain or " Preacher" who was slain at Bredenburg, but 
whose name is not mentioned. 

28TH MAY, 1879. 

At this meeting Mr. Lachlan Macdonald of Skaebost, Skye, 
was elected a life member ; and Mr. F. C. Buchanan, Armaclale 
Row, Helensburgh, and Mr. Donald Ross, M.A., H.M. Inspector 
of Schools, ordinary members. 

The following paper by Mr. C. S. Jerram, M.A., Windlesham, 
Surrey, was read : 


The science by which the laws of language are regulated and 
recorded, is called Comparative Philology, a young science as yet, 
but one that is making rapid progress. It has been popularised in 
this country mainly through the exertions of Professor Max Miiller, 
to whose Lectures on the Science of Language especially I shall 
have occasion to refer. The three great ' families ' (as they are 
called) of human speech, are known as the Indo-European or Aryan, 
the Semitic, and the Turanian ; it is with the first of these that we are 
now concerned, because the Celtic languages are ascertained to belong 
to it. Of the six or eight divisions under which the languages of 
this great Aryan family have been arranged, the Celtic is further 
sub-divided into Cymric and Gaedhelic ; the former division com- 
prising Welsh, Breton, and the now extinct Cornish ; the latter, 
Scotch and Irish Gaelic, and the dialect of the Isle of Man. The 
important thing to bear in mind respecting all these Aryan lan- 
guages is that, notwithstanding the differences that now exist 
between these divers groups, and even between various languages 

1 90 Gaelic Society of In verness. 

of the same group, there must once have been a time, when (to 
quote Max Miiller's words) "there was a small class of Aryans, 
settled probably in the highest elevation of Central Asia, speaking 
a language, not yet Sanscrit or Greek or German, but containing the 
dialectic germs of all ; a clan that had advanced to a state of agri- 
cultural civilization ; that had recognised the bonds of blood and 
sanctioned the bonds of marriage ; and that invoked the Giver of 
light and life in heaven by the same name which you may still 
hear in the temples of Benares, in the basilicas of Home, and in 
our own churches and cathedrals." 

A great step was made towards the attainment of philological 
truth when people began to recognise well regulated families, in- 
stead of vaguely defined classes or groups of speech. Much time 
and labour had previously been wasted in discussing the pretensions 
of some one particular language to be the primitive speech of man- 
kind. Because the Book containing the earliest records of the 
human race was written in Hebrew, this was for a long time sup- 
posed to be the oldest language in the world, from which it was 
sought to derive all the rest. But as Leibnitz, one of the first op- 
ponents of this theory, observes, "to call Hebrew the primitive 
language is like calling branches of a tree primitive branches, or 
like imagining that in some country hewn trunks could grow in- 
stead of trees." Even in later, and, as might have been expected, 
more enlightened times, the same notion has been revived ; and 
some have varied it so far as to substitute Gaelic or Welsh for 
Hebrew, or to maintain a philological relation between these lan- 
guages and the Hebrew, though it belongs to a distinct family 
the Semitic. To these last the words of Professor Ehys, in his 
Lectures on Welsh Philology, p. 142, apply with some force. He 
says : " Neither do literary ostriches of this class deserve to be 
reasoned with, at any rate until they have taken their heads out of 
the sand, and acquainted themselves with the history of the philo- 
logical world since the publication of Bopp's Comparative Grammar. 
It would in all probability be useless to tell them that Welsh has 
nothing to do with Hebrew or any other Semitic tongue." We are 
not here dealing with the question of the original common origin 
of all languages, nor is it denied that, if we only go back far enough, 
even all the three families of speech may have had a common 
source. There are degrees of relationship in language ; nor does it 
follow that because the signs of affinity are not now apparent, 
therefore no such affinity ever existed. Only, in the present state 
of our knowledge, we must not go to a Semitic root for the deriva- 
tion of an Aryan word ; nor even if we happen to find two roots 

Celtic Etymologies. 191 

similar in sound and sense, but belonging to different families, can 
we assume with any confidence that they are identical. 

Hence we may lay down as our first great rule this : Never 
trust implicitly any derivation which confounds the three fami- 
lies of language, or any two of them. Such a derivation might 
chance to be correct ; but in the present state of philological 
science it would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove it. For in- 
stance, if I want to find the cognates of the Gaelic words fear 
1 man,' each ' horse,' bo ( cow,' I go to the other languages of the 
Aryan family ; and I find for the first word the Sanscrit mra, 
Latin vir, Gothic vair, Anglo.-Saxon icer ; for the second, Sanscrit 
akva, old Greek ikkos (afterwards hippos], Latin equus ; for the 
third. Greek bovs, Latin bos, Welsh bu, when the b represents an 
original g, appearing in the Sanscrit go, and as Tc, c, in the High 
German kuh, and our cow. Even supposing that roots or vocables, 
similar in sound and meaning to the above, were discoverable in 
Hebrew or Chaldee, I would not rush to the conclusion that these 
were identical, but would at most admit the possibility of their 
having been so at some remote and probably pre-historic period. 
If on the other hand it were desired to find the etymology of some 
distinctly Hebrew name (Methuselah, for instance), I should not go 
(as a recent writer has done) to Irish Gaelic for a solution, but 
rather seek in Hebrew itself, or in the cognate Semitic tongues, the 
origin of a Semitic word. 

Here I may observe, by way of a passing caution, that it is im- 
portant in every case to ascertain whether the word under investi 
gation does really belong to the language in which it appears, or 
whether it has been imported into it from some other language, 
which may possibly be a member of a distinct family. Max 
Miiller has given four instances from the Hebrew Bible of words 
which have been adopted from the Sanscrit, and are therefore 
Aryan, not Semitic words. These are Tcoph ' apes' (Sanscrit kapi) ; 
shen-habbim ' ivory,' the latter element being probably a corruption 
of the Sanscrit ihha ' elephant ; ' tuTchiim ' peacocks,' from togei, 
derived from Sanscrit 'sikhin ; and almug or algum, the name of a 
tree, from Sanscrit (v}alguka. And of course we know that English, 
Gaelic, and in fact all languages more or less, abound in terms which 
are not so much derived as imported, with some alterations of form, 
from other languages all over the world. These have been appro- 
priately called ' loan-words,' to which we shall have occasion to refer 
more particularly hereafter. 

The next rule is this. Attend carefully to the laws which regu- 
late the sequence of sound in different languages of the same family. 

192 Gaelic Society of In verness. 

In the Aryan family the formulae by which these changes are regis- 
tered constitute what is known as ' Grimm's Law,' from the name 
of its discoverer, Jacob Grimm. Its provisions are mainly these. 
If the same word exists in Sanscrit, Greek and Latin, in old High 
German, and in Low German, and if the first-named languages 
shew a soft mute (B, G, D), the High German will have an aspir te 
(F, CH, TH), and the Low German a hard mute (P, K, T). 
.Again, if Sanscrit, &c., have a hard mute, High German will have 
the corresponding soft mute, and Low German the corresponding 
aspirate; and lastly, if the first division has an aspirate, the 
second will have a hard, and the third a soft mute. The Celtic 
languages fall, as a rule, under the first division with Greek, &c. 
Old High German means modern literary German in its oldest 
forms ; and English belongs to the Low German group of languages. 
This law (which applies chiefly to initial consonants, medial ones 
being liable to modification from surrounding influences) is less 
simple in actual operation than at first sight appears ; owing to the 
fact that the actual consonants I have named do not always occur, 
but are represented by others. For instance, TH in High German 
is uniformly represented by Z ; H, both in Latin and German, is 
found to stand for CH, sometimes for F or V. Three or four illus- 
trations will suffice to show the general working of the law. The 
Latin duo, Gaelic da, Welsh dwy, is the High German zwei, English 
two ; the Greek thugater is in German TocMer, in English daugh- 
ter ; the Latin cor, Gaelic cridhe, is the German Herz, English 
heart, where h represents g and ch respectively. Again, we have 
English thou, German du, Latin, Greek, and Gaelic tu, and "Welsh 
ti ; also English three, German drei, Gaelic and Welsh tri, and Latin 
ires. Of course a knowledge of the history of a word, in the vari- 
ous forms it has at different times assumed, is necessary before we 
can employ Grimm's Law with any effect ; I am now insisting 
merely on the importance of the law itself in all questions of 
Aryan etymology. Many a plausible derivation, when tested by 
it, may be proved to be impossible. 

In speaking of " derivation," we must not forget the important 
distinction between derived and cognate words. The former are of 
necessity later in order of time than the words from which they 
come. Such are French and Italian words, which have a Latin 
origin ; these languages being (to return to the " families' " meta- 
phor) daughters, not sisters, of the Latin, and sisters only to each 
other. But cognate terms are like elder and younger sisters in a 
family, and do not represent successive generations. All that I 
have cited as instances of Grimm's Law, and hundreds more, are 

Celtic Etymologies. 193 

thus cognate ; each having once had a common representative term 
in the primitive Aryan speech, before its dispersion. And, to be- 
gin with, we must put all these languages upon an equality, as 
regards age, and then see which language has preserved the largest 
number of the oldest forms. In the case of a particular word, 
sometimes one sometimes another of these languages may shew the 
oldest form ; but this is no criterion for deciding the relative 
antiquity either of a given language as a whole, or of other words 
in it. This is a mistake which people often make, when compar- 
ing cognate languages for etymological purposes. They think that 
because a certain language (say Sanscrit or Gaelic) shews generally 
signs of greater age than another (say Greek or German), therefore 
any Sanscrit or Gaelic word must be older than the corresponding 
Greek or German word. But this is by no means the case ; if it 
were, the science of Comparative Philology would be very much 
simpler than it is. We should not say, for instance, that as regards 
the bulk of its vocabulary, Latin was an older language than Greek ; 
yet it really is so, since it contains words and forms of inflexion 
which have disappeared from classical Greek, and which once 
existed in older dialects ; some even that are not found in the old- 
est existing dialects. Thus the pronoun tu was the same in Doric 
Greek, but afterwards became su ; the older k sound in kote and 
lids (afterwards pote and pos) is preserved in the Latin quis, qui, 
&c., the a still retained in sex, septem, sedeo has been softened away 
to a mere aspirate in the Greek hex, hepta, hedo. Again, although 
the Celtic languages as a whole shew undoubted signs of antiquity, 
when compared with others of the Aryan family, the evidence of par- 
ticular words points as clearly in the opposite direction. The 
Latin piscis, English fish, according to Grimm's Law, appears in 
Gaelic as iasy, in which the original consonant has entirely dis- 
appeared. Here then the Gaelic form is later, not only than the 
Latin, but even than the English. According to Zeuss' Grammatica 
Celtica, the Irish prefix iol ' many ' is neither more nor less than 
the Greek poly, and the German viel, and is therefore an instance 
of the same phenomenon. These however are exceptional cases. 
One great proof of the comparative antiquity of Gaelic, is that so 
many of its vocables retain their original k sound, which in other 
languages (even in the Welsh) has degenerated to qu, p, f, or still 
further to t. The hard k sound requires the strongest effort to 
pronounce it distinctly ; hence there is a tendency, first to ease 
the articulation by the addition of u ( = w) as in qui, quando, and 
other Latin words ; secondly, to labialise it to p ; or thirdly, to 
let it degenerate to t, which is called ' dentalism.' Professor Geddes, 


194 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

in his Lecture on the Philologic Uses of the Celtic Tongue, gives 
the following instances among others. Gaelic cas, Latin pes, Greek 
pous, English foot. Gaelic ceithir, Latin quatuor, Greek pisures 
(afterwards tessares), Welsh pedwar, English four. Gaelic co, 
Latin quis, Welsh pa, Greek tis. Gaelic casad, English cough, 
Welsh pas, Greek bex, Latin tussis. " Nay," adds the Professor, 
" such is the fondness of Gaelic for the k sound, that it has intro- 
duced it into words where it had no proper business from the first, 
and when even Sanscrit and Latin refuse to follow it." He in- 
stances Pascha and Pentecost, by the side of Casg and Caingis ; 
also purpura and poena, which the Gaelic has turned into corcor 
and cain. 

But it is not in words or roots alone that the evidence of com- 
mon origin, or the affinity of one language to another, is to be 
sought. Grammatical inflections are a far surer test, and the gram- 
mar, not the dictionary, must be our guide in classification. The 
Gaelic dative plural in -ibh would alone shew the affinity of the 
language with Latin and Greek, when compared with forms like 
tibi and sibi, the terminations in -ibus, and the old Homeric datives 
such as kratere-phi, bie-phi, oches-phi, &c. By the same rule 
English must always rank as a Teutonic language, whatever may 
be the number of words it has borrowed from foreign sources. It 
shews its relationship with German, for instance, by the -s of its 
genitive case, by its -n plurals, by its past participles and old 
infinitives in -en and -an, by its forms of comparison in -er and -est. 
And it is the same with all other languages, if we apply the test 
of grammar alone. But when we go to the vocabulary of a language, 
we find a different state of things altogether. Take an English 
dictionary, and see how many terms have been imported up to the 
present time. Not to mention Latin and French derivations, which 
now constitute the bulk of our language, we have a number of words 
in common use, that have come to us from almost every country 
in the world. The Chinese has given us tea, from Arabic we get 
coffee, sugar, syrup, amber, saffron, almanack, and many more ; 
from Persian bazaar, caravan, lilac, scarlet, and azure ; from Turk- 
ish tulip and turban. The western world has supplied us with 
tobacco, maiz^, potato, chocolate, &c. ; from Spain and Italy we 
derive negro, mosquito, bandit, alligator, gazette. We are also 
indebted to the Celtic language for many familiar terms ; to the 
Welsh for basket, funnel, flannel, garter, gown, button, mop, pail, 
pitcher, &c. ; to the Gaelic for reel, tartan, plaid, bard, clan, and 
others now more or less naturalised in English speech. A Gaelic 
dictionary abounds in words similarly imported, 'loan-words,' as 

Celtic Etymologies. 195 

we have called them. This would actually be the case, when the 
language of a primitive people comes to be adopted to modern re- 
quirements. To this class belong official terms, military, civil, and 
ecclesiastical, as cbirneal, maidsear, caiptein, reisimeid ; parlamaid, 
pri'onnsa, pobull, prwsan ; sagart, eaglais, easbuig, deireach ; besides 
a host of common words of every-day life, which could have had 
no Gaelic equivalents at a time when the things themselves were 
unknown to a Gaelic speaking people. Such are piob (now, but 
not always, the national instrument of Highland music), punnd, 
peigldnn, peabar, sgoil, sgri.oUur, seomhar, peanas, peann, pearsa, 
peula, picill, pioc, ughdair, ceinneag, uinnean, &c., picked almost at 
random out of the Gaelic dictionary. It will be noticed how many 
of these words begin with the letter P ; this is in accordance with 
the above mentioned tendency of Gaelic, to discard the labial or 
P sounds in favour of the guttural or K sounds. I may observe 
by the way, that besides the word corcor, which I cited from 
Professor Geddes' Lecture, as an instance of this tendency, the 
Gaelic also has purpur, the stem of the Latin purpura, without 
alteration. Occasionally we find ' loan-words ' so far transformed, 
as to present the appearance of genuine Gaelic vocables ; as senna- 
lair, which is general in disguise, but looks like a compound of sean 
' old.' Seanadh for senate is a similar instance ; but here the fact 
of sean being really cognate with the Latin root sen in sen-ex, &c., 
increases the deception. It would be difficult to account for the 
peculiar form buntata ' potato,' except as owing to the influence of 
bun ' root,' whether the rest of the word be from taghta l choice ' 
(as has been asserted), or not. At any rate the Gaelic form (omit- 
ting the n) comes nearer to the original batata, than potato does. 
But in the form ' buutata ' (on the above hypothesis) we have an 
instance of that universal tendency to give an intelligible sense to 
a word of foreign inhabitation, and make it speak, as it were, to 
some eifect in its new domicile. It is in fact the same impulse 
which led English sailors to transform Bellerophon into ' Billy 
Ruffian,' and Hirondelle into ' Iron iJevil,' and according to which 
a certain groom is said to have turned the names of a horse and a 
mare, Othello and Desdemona, into ' Old Fellow ' and ' Thursday 

The Welsh language, as well as the Gaelic, contains a large 
number of these ' loan words,' of various dates and from various 
sources. I will quote only a few, as esgob from epincoptis, clerig 
from clericus, abad from abbas, pris ' price,' ffafr ' favour,' top 
'top,' tasg ' task,' cnol ' knoll,' cnwb ' knob,' ffermwr l farmer,' 
foiled ' folly,' ffwrnais 'furnace;' also many beginning with >ja 

196 Gaelic Society of Inverness, 

representing the Latin s followed by a consonant, as yslryd from 
spiritus, ysgol from schola, ysgrif from scribere. Some of these (as 
ffermiur, ffwrnais, &c.) are mere transliterations into Welsh spelling, 
so as to preserve the sound as nearly as possible ; just as later Greek 
historians transformed the Eoman names Vitellius, Quartus, &c., 
in Ouitellios, Kouartos, &c. 

In speaking of the principal divisions of the Aryan family, at 
the beginning of this paper, I mentioned the Manx language as one of 
the Celtic group, and cognate with Gaelic. Philologically Manx is 
of less importance than either Gaelic or Welsh ; first, because it 
contains a much larger proportion of foreign importations, chiefly 
from the Norse and other Scandinavian languages ; and, secondly, 
because the etymology of its vocables is obscured, to the eye at 
least, by the phonetic system of orthography which it has for a 
long time adopted. Uncertainty as to the right spelling of a word 
is a fertile source of etymological confusion. This appears in the 
constant, and often fruitless, controversy that goes on about the 
derivation of place-names ia Scotland and elsewhere. Could we be 
sure, for instance, what was the original Gaelic form of Glasgow, 
we should know whether it came from Glas-gobha ' the white or 
grey smith,' or from Clais-dhu ' the dark ravine,' or from Eaglais- 
dliu ' the black church,' or something quite different from these. 
Or does the name of the Highland capital really mean ' cascade- 
river-confluence' (Inbhir-an-eas), as Colonel Eobertson would have us 
believe ] The Anglicised form Ness does not help us at all to 
decide the question. So in Manx, who would recognise the icritten 
words Ree, Chiran, Oilly-niartal as righ, Tighearn, uille-neartail, 
with which they really correspond 1 Yet that Manx is cognate, 
almost identical, with Gaelic will readily appear. Let us take as a 
specimen for comparison part of the Lord's Prayer, which runs 
thus in Manx " Ayr ain t' ayns niau ; casherick dy row t' ennym. 
Dy jig dty reeriaght. Dt' aigney dy row jeant er y thalloo, myr ti 
ayns niau. Cur dooin nyn arran jiu as gagh laa. As leih doom 
nyn loglityn, myr ta shin leih dauesyn ta jannoo loghtyn nyn 'oi." 
In this extract the italicised words represent in order the Gaelic 
athair, neamh, coisrigte, ainm, thig, rwghachd, deanta, talamh, 
cuir, duinn, aran, diugh, gach Id, lochd, sin, deanamh. If 
besides these aigney and leih represent gean and leig respectively 
(as seems probable), every important part of speech will have its 
equivalent form in Gaelic ; and not only these but smaller words, 
such as ayns (anns), dy (do), as (agus), &c., are similarly repre- 
sented. Hence, for purely philological purposes, Gaelic vocables 
are in most cases amply sufficient to work with. 

Celtic Etymologies. 197 

In the foregoing examples, selected from the principal languages 
of the Celtic group, I have endeavoured to illustrate the important 
distinction between cognate and derived (or berroiced) words. The 
latter, when stripped of the disguises they often wear, are compara- 
tively easy to detect ; the former may tax the philologer's utmost 
resources for their identification, and in the present state of the 
science there must often be room for doubt. It is to these that 
the rules and formulae of ' Grimm's Law ' apply, nor can we reach 
any certain conclusions in etymology, if we neglect the study of 
' sound-lore,' and of the history and chronology of the words we 
are investigating. 

My third and last rule is not so much a distinct principle, as a 
necessary consequence of the preceding considerations. It is, how- 
ever, important enough in itself to be stated separately thus 
Never trust mere similarity in the sound or form of words, unless 
the connexion between them can be historically supported. The dis- 
regard of this rule has always been a fertile source of error to the 
etymologist. It seems so very simple, when we find two words 
very much alike in form, and perhaps in sense also, to conclude that 
they have a common origin or derivation ; whereas this is often 
far from being the case. Such an assumed connexion is at best a 
mere guess, quite as likely to be wrong as right ; and even if acci- 
dentally right, it is of no scientific value, till it has been proved by 
the proper tests. Before such a science as Comparative Philology 
existed, there was no other way of going to work. Thus the 
ancients, ignorant of the history of their own language, suggested 
most absurd derivations ; such as Apollo, from the negative prefix 
a and polus ' many ', because there was only one sun in the 
universe ; or ao, ' I breathe,' from its component letters Alpha and 
Omega, because breathing is the first and last operation of our 
lives ! Others were given, which, if not positively absurd, yet can- 
not be proved correct, as coslum from koilon, a hollow vault ; 
calamitas from calamus, ' a stalk,' as if it were originally a disease 
of corn, &c., &c. What is more plausible than to connect call 
with the Greek kal-eo, with which it is identical in sense and sound 1 
But in fact these two words are too much alike to admit of the con- 
nexion, since by Grimm's law, a Low German (English) c or k 
must have a corresponding g in Greek, and the real Greek cognates 
of call are (by variation of the liquids I and r), ger-us ' a voice,' and 
geruein ' to cry.' On the other hand, to take an instance of deri- 
vation, who would suspect the French yeux to be a lineal descendant 
of the Latin oculus, with which it has not a single* letter in common ? 

* The u in yeux is not the u in oculus. The latter (see above) was dropped 
out, the former is the regular representative of the Latin o. 

198 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

And yet every step in the process can be traced with certainty. 
Thus, ocuhis became oclus, whence old French oil, euil, ieul. The 
plural was ieuls, then (by dropping the 1) ieiis or yens, of which 
yeux is merely a variation. These two instances will serve as well 
as a hundred, and shew the danger of resting any etymological 
argument upon sound or form alone. 

Few languages have suffered as much as the Gaelic at the hands 
of imperfect or incompetent etymologists. Though it may seem 
paradoxical to say so, I think that the wide-spread interest in the 
subject, among Gaelic-speaking people, has largely contributed to 
this result. " It is astonishing," says Dr. MacLauchlan, in his 
Celtic Gleanings (p. 128), " how much time a gathering of High- 
landers will spend in discussing the etymology of a name. It is 
generally thought that for this kind of study any man possessing 
ordinary knowledge of the Gaelic language is amply qualified, and 
that a little twisting or untwisting of words, which any man can 
accomplish, is all that is necessary to bring forth a satisfactory 
result." What, for instance, are we to think of such derivations 
as these, which have been gravely put forward in an elaborate work 
on the Gaelic Etymology of the Languages of Western Europe ? 
Obelisk from ob ' serpent ' and leigh (leac ?) ' stone ; ' potato from 
bim taghta l choice root ;' general from seanfhaireil ' watchful old 
man ;' Paradise from beure (?) deise (deiseil ?) ' southward garden ;' 
canopy from ceann-bhrat l head-covering ; ' and last (but not least) 
Hyde Park from ait pair c 'joyful enclosure ! ! ' Taking the above 
in order, except the last, which is unworthy of serious notice, we 
find (1) Obelisk, a pure Greek word obeliskos, a diminutive of obelos 
1 a spit,' hence applied to a pointed pillar (2) Potato, a West 
Indian word, the Gaelic form of which, buntata, I have already 
noticed as probably owing to the influence of bun ' a root,' but in 
no sense derived from it (3) General, from the Latin generalis, 
the adjective of genus, ' belonging to a class ; ' hence the head of 
a class, or chief part of anything, as of an army (4) Paradise, from 
paradeisos, the Greek form of an original Persian word meaning a 
park or pleasure ground (5) Canopy, from French canape, was in 
old French conope, a direct derivation of conopeum, Greek konopeion, 
( a mosquito-curtain,' from honops ' a gnat ' or ' mosquito.' Again, 
there is no possible doubt as to the derivation of careme ' Lent ' 
(old French caresme) from quadragesima, which conveys its own 
meaning with it ; what need then to go to Gaelic for such a far- 
fetched explanation as cathreim, " order of battle against the lusts 
of the flesh V I am told that the book abounds in similar absurdi- 
ties, though I cannot vouch for the fact from personal observation. 

Celtic Etymologies. 199 

I am compelled to notice them in a paper as ' Celtic Etymologies,' 
not, I am sure, in a spirit of hostility to the author (for whom I 
entertain sincere respect on account of the good work he has done 
in other fields of literature), but because I feel that such wild 
theories as these, if widely promulgated, must only bring contempt 
upon Celtic studies generally, and alienate real scholars, who might 
otherwise be disposed to lend a helping hand. Many people are 
only too ready to ridicule all attempts that are made in this direc- 
tion, and I regard it as most unfortunate that really vulnerable 
points should have been exposed at the present time by any who 
have Celtic interests at heart, and who are foremost in their 
endeavours to promote them. 

It is a pleasure to turn to another part of the same author's 
work, in which he traces many of our slang and cant expressions to 
a Celtic source. Many of these are doubtless very odd, and may 
be supposed to date from a period preceding that of the various 
Teutonic immigrations into these islands. Twig, for instance, in 
the sense of ' understand,' may without any forcing be referred to 
the Gaelic tuig, until historical evidence be produced to the con- 
trary. Balderdash is surely identical with the Welsh baldorddus, 
1 idle prattle,' though this word has also its cognates in the Dutch, 
Flemish, and other Teutonic languages. This is a mine which is 
altogether worth working, and I should be glad to see it completely 
and satisfactorily done by some competent scholar. From the 
same hand appeared an interesting paper in the Celtic Magazine 
for December, 1875, the object of which was to trace many of 
the choruses and refrains of popular songs to a Celtic and 
Druidical origin. Though it may be impossible at this distance 
of time to furnish strictly historical and chronological proof of 
the alleged facts, there is still a high degree of probability, based 
on the remote antiquity of the Druids in many parts of Europe, 
and their known custom of " marching round the inner circle of 
their rude temples, chanting hymns in honour of the sunrise, the 
noon, and the sunset ; hymns which have not been wholly lost to 
posterity, though posterity has failed to understand them." Such 
refrains, for instance, as Lillibulero, Down deri^y down, Trimgotrix, 
La farira donde, &c., do seem to be something " more than mere 
nonsense words that went glibly off the tongue," though few will 
see the necessity of referring simpler ones like tra la la, rum te 
turn, &c., to a more recondite origin. These are mere combinations 
of consonants and melodious vowels, which any one trying to sing 
a tune without words would naturally produce. For the examples 
themselves (especially bullen a la = buille na la ' stroke or dawn of 
day'), I must refer you to the paper in the Celtic Magazine. 

200 x- Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

An attempt has also been made to derive names in classical 
mythology from Celtic originals. Many of these may certainly have 
cognate Celtic forms ; but cognation and derivation are two very 
different things, as I have already explained. Some apparently 
Greek names are foreign words in a. Greek dress, as Apollo, Hera, 
Hermes, and possibly Aphrodite. This last may be an instance of 
an original form (probably Phoenician), varied so as to give it a 
meaning in Greek, as if from aphros ' foam ' ; but -it is likely that 
the legend of the ' foam-born goddess ' is posterior to the name 
Aphrodite ; at least it is not found in Homer. So the form of the 
name Apollo points to the meaning ' Destroyer,' from apollumi 
' I destroy j' but its real derivation is uncertain. Xow if in any 
such case a cognate root be found to exist in Gaelic, it is well to 
note the .fact, but it will not do to assume without proof, that the 
Gaelic is the original or the oldest form. For instance the termi- 
nation -taur in centaur is unquestionably related to the Gaelic 
tarbh and the Welsh tarw ' a bull,' and Ur-dnus (Greek ourdnos}, 
if it be rightly referred to the root or, in the verb ornumai ' I rise,' 
may have a cognate root in the Gaelic ur ' early,' not to mention 
other instances of the same kind. But when you take a plain 
Greek participial form like Harpuiai, or Greek substantives like 
Chaos ' a void space,' or Penelope from penos ' a web,' or Zephyrus 
from zoplios ' the dark (western) land,' and refer these to a Celtic 
origin, you go against established historical facts, about which there 
is not the slightest room for doubt. The most reprehensible feature 
in these theories is, that their authors wilfully abandon certainties 
for speculations, which need never have been made at all. In a 
case of doubtful etymologies, the possibility of a given word being 
derived from a Celtic source should by all means be taken into 
account, and properly investigated ; but when the fact is well 
known, and has been already settled beyond dispute, it is hard 
to see what can be the object of re-opening the question at a later 
time of day. Such theories neither deserve discussion nor demand 
respect, since they are not even professedly founded on any 
scientific basis ; rather they assert themselves in defiance of ascer- 
tained principles and laws. The process is something of the fol- 
lowing kind Given a number of words, which you believe, or 
desire to make out, to be of Celtic origin, take a Gaelic dictionary 
and select words, or combinations of words, as similar as possible 
in sound to those under investigation, and draw your conclusions 
accordingly. A little ingenuity is then all that will be required to 
establish the connexion of meaning, and the operation is completed. 

I will conclude with a few miscellaneous examples of erroneous 

Celtic Etymologies. 201 

derivations from the Gaelic, which I have noted, at different times, 
in various publications. I shall not name the authors ; indeed they 
are for the most part unknown to me. 

1. MiorWieul ' miracle ' has been said to be compounded of meur 
and Bel, i.e. ' God's finger ! ' To say nothing of the unwarrantable 
identification of the Phrenician Bel or Baal with the true God, the 
word is obviously a loan word from the Latin mirabilis, like sagart 
from sacerdos, deiscobul from discipulus, oifeag from officium, and 
many more. 

2. Senator from sean athair 'old father.' Here the first syllable 
sen is of course cognate with sean, and the Welsh hen ' old,' but the 
remainder of the word is a Latin verbal noun ending, and can have 
nothing to do with athair. 

3. Text from teagasg ' teaching.' It is from the Latin textus 
1 woven,' and meant first ' woven substance ' (as of cloth) ; then the 
' substance ' of a book, as distinguished from the notes ; and lastly 
was applied to the words of the Bible itself as contrasted with the 
commentary thereon, especially a small detached portion serving as 
the theme for a discourse ; whereas teagasg is either a late word de- 
rived from teach, or else related in the usual way to the Greek 
di-dask-o and the Latin doceo. 

4. The new fashionable term rink has been referred to the 
Gaelic rinceadh ' dancing.' This is at first sight plausible, but the 
history of the word seems to be against it. Rink, in various forms, 
is found in nearly all Teutonic languages. It first meant ' striving ' 
or ' contention ; ' hence the ring or arena of battle. Thus Gawin 
Douglas, the old Scottish translator of Virgil has the line 

' They wan (came) near to the renkin end,' 

i.e. the end of the course. The word rink appears to have been 
taken to Canada by Scotch emigrants along with the game of 
curling, and to have been afterwards used of skating also ; it 
originally meant not a dance, but a floor or arena, which might be 
used for dancing or other similar purposes. 

5. Demesne from demeas-ne 'not of assessment' (?), i.e., land 
free from tax, doomsday from do-meas-deigh ' enquiry of assess- 
ment' (?), and alderman from ildor-man 'the chief person at the 
great gate' (]). Of these I confess myself unable to make anything 
at all, but they appeared in a book published at Liverpool some 
three years ago. The Saturday Review, in its critique upon this 
work, made some general observations on the popular state of mind 
with regard to philology, which are well worth quoting. " Why," 
they ask, " is an absurdity in physical science so much more 

'20'2 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

generally recognised as such, than an absurdity in history or philo - 
logy 1 There is this difference in the position of the two studies 
many people, without having gone far into the study of Astronomy, 
have got elementary ideas of it, which are correct as far as they go. 
Such people recognise an absurdity within their own range of 
knowledge as readily as an astronomer does. But with regard to 
history or philology, few are in this exact state of mind. The 
notion (for instance) that a purely Semitic name may be referred 
to a Celtic origin,* does not seem so absurd to them, as the notion 
that the sun goes round the earth. And in a sense they are right ; 
it is equally wrong, but not equally absurd. Philological proposi- 
tions are not capable of rigid mathematical demonstrations. A man 
sees that astronomy is not a matter of guessing ; but because philo- 
logy is not capable of the same rigid proof, he thinks that it is a 
matter of guessing, and that his guess is as likely to be right as 
that of another man. Hence in philological matters the right thing 
does not get the same undoubting acceptance, as in matters of 
physical science. Anything that has a learned air will impose upon 
people, and the wrong thing has often quite as learned an air as 
the right one. As for the particular etymologies (we have been 
considering) a philologer will stop to discuss them, when an 
astronomer stops to discuss the theory that the moon is made of 
green cheese." 

Let me conclude with a few words by way of caution. The 
science of Comparative Philology is not old ; the study of Celtic, 
from a philological point of view, is quite modern. There is there- 
fore much danger of its being misapplied and misdirected at the 
present time. Comparatively few scholars have as yet made them- 
selves acquainted with either the grammar or literature of the Celtic 
languages. On the other hand, few native Celts have had time or 
opportunity to study the latest results of philological research. 
But, as the student who has no practical knowledge of Welsh or 
Gaelic, must find himself constantly at fault from ignorance of 
simple facts, about which any native could inform him, so no 
amount of practical knowledge will suffice, without an acquaintance 
with the principles on which philology as a science is based. Above 
all, let us beware of a misguided enthusiasm, that seeks not the 
verification of facts, so much as the establishment at all hazards 
of a preconceived theory. It is no question of nationality with 
which we have to deal, and it is a false patriotism that would exalt 
family or nation at the expense of truth. What we want is 
intelligent combination ; the union of Celt and Teuton, Sassenach 

* I substitute this instance for the one given in the original article. 

Celtic Etymologies. 203 

and Gael, in the one honest endeavour to find out the facts under 
the guidance of sound principles. Let us then take for our motto 
the famous saying of Aristotle, when he felt himself compelled to 
dissent from the philosophic system of his master, which has been 
thus preserved to us in a Latin version " Amicus Plato, magis 
arnica VERITAS." 



Sir Kenneth S. Mackenzie of Gairloch, Bart. 
Professor John Stuart Blackie, Edinburgh University. 
Charles Eraser-Mackintosh of Drummond, M.P. 
Duncan Davidson of Tulloch. 


Burgess, Peter, factor for Glenmoriston, Dramnadrochit. 

Chisholm-Gooden, James, 33 Tavistock Square, London. 

Cluny Macpherson of Cluny Macpherson. 

Forbes, Alexander, 143 West Regent Street, Glasgow. 

Eraser, Alexander, 16 Union Street, Inverness. 

Eraser-Mackintosh, Charles, of Drummond, M.P. 

Macdonald, Lachlan, of Skaebost, Skye. 

Mackay, Donald, Gampola, Kandy, Ceylon. 

Mackay, George F., Roxburgh, Otago, New Zealand. 

Mackay, James, Eoxburgh, Otago, New Zealand. 

Mackay, John, C.E., Swansea. 

Mackenzie, Sir Kenneth S., of Gairloch, Bart. 

Mackenzie, Allan R., yr. of Kintail, Leys Castle, Inverness. 

Scobie, Captain N., Fearn, Ross-shire. 


Anderson, James, solicitor, Inverness. 
Black, Rev. Dr., Inverness. 

Blackie, Professor John Stuart, Edinburgh University. 
Bourke, Very Rev. Canon, Kilcolman, Claremorris, Mayo. 
Buchan, Dr. Patrick, Stouehaven. 
Burgess, Alexander, Caledonian Bank, Gairloch. 
Cameron, Donald, of Clunes, Inverness. 

Cameron, Ewen, manager of the Hong-Kong and Shanghai Banking 
Company, at Shanghai. 

206 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Cameron, James Randal, Jacksonville, Oregon. 

Campbell, George Murray, Gampola, Ceylon. 

Chisholm, Captain A. Maura, Glassburn, Strathglass. 

Davidson, Donald, solicitor, Inverness. 

Davidson, Duncan, of Tullocb, Koss-shire. 

Ferguson, Mrs., 6 Charles Street, Lowndes Square, London. 

Fraser, A. T. F., clothier, Church Street, Inverness. 

Eraser, Huntly, Kinrnyles, Inverness. 

Grant, John, Cardiff, Wales. 

Grant, General Sir Patrick, G.C.B., Chelsea, London. 

Grant, Robert, of Messrs. Macdougall & Co., Inverness. 

Grant, Major W., Drambuie, Glen-Urquhart. 

Lines, Charles, solicitor, Inverness. 

Jenkins, R, P., solicitor, Inverness. 

Jerrarn, C. S., M.A., Woodcote House, Windlesham. 

Jolly, William, H.M. Inspector of Schools, Albyn Place, Inverness. 

Krause, Fritz, Waverley Hotel, Inverness. 

Macandrew, H. C., sheriff-clerk, Inverness-shire. 

Macdonald, Alexander, Balranald, Uist. 

Macdouald, Allan, solicitor, Inverness. 

Macdonald, Andrew, solicitor, Inverness. 

Macdonald, Bailie, Aberdeen. 

Macdonald, Captain D. P., Ben-Nevis Distillery, Fort- William. 

Macdonald, John, Marine Hotel, Nairn. 

Macdonell, Patrick, Kinchyle, Dores. 

Macfarquhar, John, M.A., Inverness. 

Macgregor, Rev. Alex., M.A., Inverness. 

Mackay, Charles, LL.D., Fern Dell Cottage, near Dorking. 

Mackay, Donald, San Francisco, California. 

Mackay, John (of Ben Reay) Meadowbank, Fortrose. 

Mackay, John Stuart, San Francisco, California. 

Mackay, Neil, Penylan House, Pencoed, Bridgend, Wales. 

Mackenzie, Rev. A. D., Free Church, Kilmorack. 

Mackenzie, Colonel Hugh, of Parkmount, Forres. 

Mackenzie, John, M.D., of Eileanach, Inverness. 

Mackenzie, Osgood H., of Inverewe, Poolewe. 

Mackenzie, Major Thomas, 78th Highlanders, Poona, India. 

Mackenzie, Thomas, Broadstone Park, Inverness. 

Mackintosh of Mackintosh, Moyhall. 

Mackintosh, .Angus, of Holme. 

Mackintosh, Eneas W., of Raigmore. 

Mackintosh, P. A.,, Bridgend, Glamorgan. 

Macphersou, Colonel, of Glentruim, Kingussio. 

Members. 207 

Macrae, D. A., Monar, by Beauly. 

Macrae, Ewen (of Ardtulloch. Australia), Ardintoul, Lochalsli. 

Menzies, John, Caledonian Hotel, Inverness. 

2s T icolson, Angus, late editor of The Gael, Glasgow. 

O'Hara, Thomas, inspector of National Schools, Portarlington, 


Reidhaven, Lord, Balmacaan, Glen-TJrquhart. 
Ross, Rev. William, Rothesay. 
Scott, Roderick, solicitor, Inverness. 
Seaficld, the Right Hon. the Earl of, Castle Grant. 
Shaw, A. Mackintosh, Secretary's Office, G.P.O., London. 
Small, James, of Dirnanean, Pitlochry. 
Stewart, John, Duntulm, Skye. 
Stoddart, Evan, Mudgee, N.S. Wales, Australia. 
Sutherland, Alexander, Taff Brae Cottage, Cefn, Merthyr-TydviL 
Sutherland- Walker, Evan Charles, of Skibo. 
Wilson, P. G., Inverness. 


Baillie, Peter, Inverness. 

Bain, Wm., " Courier " Office, Inverness. 

Bannatyne, William Mackinnon, Stirling. 

Barclay, John, accountant, Inverness. 

Barren, James, " Courier " Office, Inverness. 

Bisset, Rev. Alexander, R. C., Stratherrick. 

Black, George, banker, Inverness. 

Buchanan, F. C., Helensburgh. 

Cameron, Miss M. E., of Innseagan, Fort-William. 

Cameron, A. H. F., of LakeMd, 2 Shield Road, Liverpool* 

Cameron, Rev. Alex., Glengarry. 

Cameron, Archibald, Glenbair, Kintyre. 

Cameron, Donald, of Lochiel, M. L*. 

Cameron, D., velocipede maker, Dempster Gardens, Inverness. 

Cameron, H. E., dunes, Lochaber. 

Campbell, Alexander, supervisor, Kyleakin, Skye. 

Campbell, D. A., builder, Inverness. 

Campbell, Donald, draper, Bridge Street, Inverness. 

Campbell, Fraser (of Fraser and Campbell), High Street, Inverness. 

Campbell, George J., solicitor, Inverness. 

Campbell, Paul, shojmakor, Bridge Street, Inverness. 

Campbell, A. D., Kirkintilloch. 

Campbell, T. D. (of Cuniuiiug and Campbell), Xess Bank, Inverueii. 

208 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Cannichael, A. A., Inland Eevenue, Oban. 

Carroll, Dr. William, 617 South 16th Street, Philadelphia. 

Carruthers, "Walter, Gordonville, Inverness. 

Charleson, Hector, Railway Refreshment Rooms, Forres. 

Chisholm, Alpin, 21 Castle Street, Inverness. 

Chisholm, Archibald, sheriff-clerk depute, Inverness. 

Chisholm, Colin, Namur Cottage, Inverness. 

Chisholm, Simon, Flowerdale, Gairloch. 

Clunas, James, Nairn. 

Colvin, John, solicitor, Inverness. 

Cooper, William, Highland Railway, Inverness. 

Cran, John, Kirkton, Inverness. 

Crawford, D., Otterferry. 

Gumming, James, Allanfearn, Inverness. 

Dallas, Alexander, town-clerk, Inverness. 

Davidson, Andrew, sculptor, Inverness. 

Davidson, John, grocer, Inglis Street, Inverness. 

Davidson, Lachlan, banker, Kingussie. 

Dott, Donald, Caledonian Bank, Lochmaddy. 

Douglas, Wm., Aberdeen Town and County Bank, Inverness. 

Duncan, John M., " Annandale Advertiser." 

Falconer, Peter, plasterer, Inverness. 

Fergusson, Charles, Ballymacool, Letterkenny, Ireland. 

Fergusson, Robert, Raploch, Stirling. 

Fergusson, D. H., Pipe-Major, I.H.R.V., Inverness. 

Finlayson, Simon, commercial traveller, 3 Jamaica Street, Glasgow. 

Forbes, Dr. G. F., of the Bombay Army, Viewfield House, Inverness. 

Forbes, Duncan, of Culloden. 

Forsyth, Ebenezer, " Inverness Advertiser " Office, Inverness. 

Forsyth, John H., wine merchant, Inverness. 

Forsyth, W. B., of the " Inverness Advertiser," Inverness. 

Fraser, ^neas (Innes and Mackay), Inverness. 

Fraser, Alexander, solicitor, Inverness. 

Fraser, Andrew, builder, Inverness. 

Fraser, Andrew, cabinetmaker, Union Street, Inverness. 

Fraser, A. R., British Linen Company Bank, Stirling. 

Fraser, D., Glenelg. 

Fraser, Donald, solicitor, Nairn. 

Fraser, Hugh, inspector of poor, Inverness. 

Fraser, Hugh, Balloch, Culloden. 

Fraser, Hugh C., Haugh, Inverness. 

Fraser, George, Royal Bank, Inverness. 

Fraser, Wm. (Gunn and Grant), Castle Street, Inverness. 

Members. 209 

Fraser, James, commission agent, Lombard Street, Inverness. 

Eraser, James, C.E., Inverness. 

Fraser, James, Mauld, Strathglass. 

Fraser, James, manufacturer, 41 North Albion Street, Glasgow. 

Fraser, Rev. John, Free Church Manse, Kosskeen. 

Fraser, Miss, Farraline Villa, North Berwick. 

Fraser, Simon, 75 Huntly Street, Inverness. 

Fraser, William, 51 Tomnahurich Street, Inverness. 

Galloway, George, chemist, Inverness. 

Gillies, H. C., 52 Cromwell Street, Glasgow. 

Gillanders, John, teacher, Denny. 

Glass, C. C., North Street, St. Andrews. 

Grant, James, M.A., Register House, Edinburgh. 

Grant, Rev. J., E. C. Manse, Kilmuir, Skye. 

Gunn, Wm., draper, Castle Street, Inverness. 

Hood, Andrew, commercial traveller, 39 Union Street, Inverness. 

Hood, Miss, 39 Union Street, Inverness. 

Joass, W. C., architect, Dingwall. 

Kennedy, Neil, Kishorn, Lochcarron. 

Kerr, Thomas, Caledonian Bank, Inverness. 

Livingstone, Colin, Fort- William. 

Macbean, Charles, writer, 42 Union Street, Inverness. 

Macbean, George, 42 Union Street, Inverness. 

Macbean, James, 77 Church Street, Inverness. 

Macbean, Lachlan, " Fifeshire Advertiser " Office, Kirkcaldy. 

Macaskill, D., saddler, Dun vegan. 

Macdonald, Alexander, messenger-at-arms, Inverness. 

Macdonald, Alexander, flesher, New Market, Inverness. 

Macdonald, Donald, farmer, Culchraggie, Alness. 

Macdonald, Donald, painter, Inverness. 

Macdonald, Donald, Englishton, Bunchrew. 

Macdonald, Finlay, Druidag, KintaiL 

Macdonald, Hugh, 2 Petty Street, Inverness. 

Macdonald, John, banker, Buckie. 

Macdonald, blacksmith, Invergarry. 

Macdonald, John, Ballifeary, Inverness. 

Macdonald, John, gamekeeper, Dunphail. 

Macdonald, John, 35 Tavistock Terrace, Upper Holloway, London, N. 

Macdonald, John, live stock agent, Inverness. 

Macdonald, John, merchant, Exchange, Inverness. 

Macdonald, John (Innes & Mackay), Inverness. 

Macdonald, R. A., Ullinish, Skye. 

Macdonald, Dr. William, Inverness. 

210 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 

Macdonald, "William, Hilton Tillage, Inverness. 

Macdonald, William, contractor, Badcall, Glen-Urquhart. 

Macdonald, Murdo, Row House, by Doune, Pitlochry. 

Macdonell, F. D., Hastings, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. 

Macdougall, Donald, Craggan, Grantown. 

Macgillivray, Finlay, solicitor, Inverness. 

Macgillivray, John, grocer, Academy Street, Inverness. 

Macgillivray, William, clerk, Castle Street, Inverness. 

Macgillivray. William, innkeeper, Kingussie. 

Macgregor, Donald, 42 Glassford Street, Glasgow. 

Macgregor, John, hotelkeeper, Invermoriston. 

Macgregor, Kev. Malcolm, F.C. Manse, Ferrintosh. 

Machardy, Robert, 8 Church Street. Inverness. 

Maciver, Duncan, Church Street, Inverness. 

Maciver, Finlay, carver, Church Street, Inverness. 

Macintyre, Donald, schoolmaster, Arpafuelie. 

Mackay, Alexander, builder, Academy Street, Inverness. 

Mackay, Charles, builder, Culduthel Road, Inverness. 

Mackay, D. J., solicitor, Inverness. 

Mackay, John G., 158 Plantation Street, Glasgow. 

Mackay, William, solicitor, Church Street, Inverness. 

Mackay, William, bookseller, High Street, Inverness. 

Mackenzie, A. S., 4 Upper Porchester Street, Hyde Park, London. 

Mackenzie, Alexander, editor, " Celtic Magazine," Inverness. 

Mackenzie, Alexander, wine merchant, Church Street, Inverness. 

Mackenzie, Alexander, architect, 251 St. Vincent Street, Glasgow. 

Mackenzie, A. C., teacher, Maryburgh, Dingwall. 

Mackenzie, Andrew, ironmonger, Alness. 

Mackenzie, C. D., 102 Linthorpe Road, Middlesboro'-on-Tees. 

Mackenzie, Evan, solicitor, Inverness. 

Mackenzie, Dr. F. M., Inverness. 

Mackenzie, H. F., Caledonian Bank, Inverness. 

Mackenzie, P. A. C., 57 Marquis Road, Carnden Square, London. 

Mackenzie, Hugh, postmaster, Alness. 

Mackenzie, James H., bookseller, High Street, Inverness. 

Mackenzie, Murdoch, Inland Revenue, Fort-William. 

Mackenzie, Simon (Harrison & Co.), Chambers Street, Edinburgh. 

Mackenzie, William, factor, Ardross. 

Mackenzie, William, solicitor, Dingwall. 

Mackenzie, William, " Aberdeen Free Press " Office, Inverness, 

Mackenzie, William, draper, Bridge Street, Inverness. 

Mackinnon, Deputy Surgeon-General W. A., C.B., Aldershot. 

Mackintosh, Charles, commission agent, Church Street, Inverness. 

Members. 211 

Mackintosh, Duncan, Bank of Scotland, Inverness. 

Mackintosh, Duncan, draper, 57 High Street, Inverness. 

Mackintosh, James, National Bank, Grantowu. 

Mackintosh, James, merchant, Buenos Ayres. 

Mackintosh, John, 57 High Street, Inverness. 

Mackintosh, Miss, The Brae, Denny. 

Mackintosh, Peter (Messrs. Macdougall & Co.'s), Gran town. 

Maclachlan, Duncan, publisher, 64 South Bridge, Edinhurgh. 

Maclachlan, Rev. Lachlan, Established Church, Tain. 

Maclean, Alexander, coal merchant, Inverness. 

Maclean, Ewen, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. 

Maclean, Roderick, Ardross, Alness. 

Macleay, W. A., birdstuffer, Inverness. 

Maclennan, Murdo, Shore Street, Inverness. 

Macleod, Alexander, grocer, Bridge Street, Inverness. 

Macleod, Alexander, 8 Church Street, Inverness. 

Macleod, Robert, commercial traveller, Leith. 

Maclure, Alexander, 21 Whittall Street, Birmingham. 

Macmillan, Archd., Kaituna, Havelock, Marlborough, N.Z. 

Macmillan, John, Kingsmills Road, Inverness. 

Macnee, Dr., Inverness. 

Macneil, Nigel, Dumbarton Road, Glasgow. , 

Macphail, Alexander, Lairg House, Stratbpeffer. 

Macphail, Angus, 35 Lothim Street, Edinburgh. 

Macpherson, D., Glenness Place, Inverness. 

Macpherson, Duncan, 8 Drummond Street, Inverness. 

Macpherson, James, Rose Street, Inverness. 

Macpherson, Sergeant D., Chapel Street, Inverness. 

Macpherson, James, 28 Melville Terrace, Edinburgh. 

Macpherson, Rev. John, F. C. Manse, Lairg. 

Macpherson, Mrs. Sarah, Alexandra Villa, Kingussie. 

Macrae, Alexander M., Glcnoze, by Portree. 

Macrae, Rev. A., Free Church Manse, Clachan, Kintyre. 

Macrae, Rev. Angus, F.C., Glen-Urquhart. 

Macrae, Donald, High School, Inverness. 

Macrae, Duncan, Ardintoul, Lochalsh. 

Macrae, Ewen, Braintrath, Lochalsh. 

Macrae, Ewen, Borlum, Fort-Augustus. 

Macrae, R., postmaster, Beauly. 

Macrae, Roderick, Island of Eigg, by Greeuock. 

Macrae, Donald, Glenvargill, Skye. 

Macrae, Thomas, Glasnakill, Skye. 

Macrae, Duncan, Camusunary, Skye. 

212 Gaelic Society of In verness. 

Macrae, John, medical student, Braintra, Lochalsh. 

Macrae, Kenneth (late Achlorachan, Strathconnon), Lochcarron. 

Macraild, A. E., Inverness. 

Matheson, Dr. Farquhar, Soho Square, London. 

Matheson, John, supervisor, Paisley. 

Melven, James, bookseller, Inverness. 

Menzies, Duncan, farmer, Blairich, Rogart. 

Middleton, David, coal merchant, Inverness. 

Morrison, Robert, jeweller, Inverness. 

Morrison, William, schoolmaster, Dingwall. 

Munro, A. R., 57 Camphill Road, Birmingham. 

Munro, John, 54 Clyde Place, Glasgow. 

Murdoch, John, " The Highlander," Inverness. 

Murray, "William, chief-constable, The Castle, Inverness. 

Nicolson, Sheriff, Kirkcudbright. 

Nicholson, Jonathan, wine merchant, Pershore Street, Birmingham. 

Nicolson, William, Whitecroft, Lydney. 

Noble, Andrew, Lombard Street, Inverness. 

Noble, John, bookseller, Castle Street, Inverness. 

Noble, William, The Grocery, Inverness. 

Reid, James, 4 High Street, Inverness. 

Rhind, John, architect, Inverness. 

Robertson, George, Bank of Scotland, Coupar-Angus. 

Rose, Rev. A. Macgregor, F. C. Manse, Evie and Rendall, Orkney. 

Rose, Hugh, solicitor, Inverness. 

Ross, Alex., architect, Inverness. 

Ross, Alex., late teacher, Alness. 

Ross, Alex., "Advertiser" Office, Inverness. 

Ross, D. R., Gas Office, Inverness. 

Ross, Donald, M.A., H.M. inspector of Schools, Glasgow. 

Ross, George, ironmonger, DingwalL 

Ross, Jonathan, draper, Inverness. 

Ross, Roderick., Middlesboro'-on-Tees. 

Sharp, D., Keppoch Hill Cottage, Glasgow. 

Shaw, David, Union Bank, Inverness. 

Shaw, Hugh, tinsmith, Inverness. 

Shaw, John D., accountant, Inverness. 

Simpson, Provost, Inverness. 

Sinclair, Archibald, printer, 62 Argyle Street, Glasgow. 

Sinclair, Duncan, teacher, Parish School, Lochlash. 

Sinclair, Rev. John, Kinloch-Rannoch. 

Sinton, Thomas, Nuide, Kingussie. 

Smith, Thomas A., clerk, Steam Saw Mills, Inverness, 

Members. 213 

Smith, Thomas S., 6 Frederick Street, Edinburgh. 

Smith, Wm. Alex., Scottish Imperial Assurance Coy., Manchester. 

Stewart, Colin J., Dingwall. 

Stewart, Henry, 10 Huntly Street, Inverness. 

Stewart, Robert, shipbuilder, Inverness. 

Stratton, Dr., 4 Valletort Terrace, Stoke, Devonport. 

Sutherland, Rev. A. C., Strathbraan, Perthshire. 

Thompson, Robert, grocer, Tomnahurich Street, Inverness. 

Tolmie, John, 1 Bellevue Crescent, Edinburgh. 

Tulloch, Dr. David, Helmsdale. 

Tulloch, John, painter, Inverness. 

Walker, Chas. A., 51 Watson Street, Aberdeen. 

Watson, Rev. William, Kiltearn, Evanton. 

Watt, David, Volunteer Arms Hotel, Inverness. 

Whyte, David, Church Street, Inverness. 

Whyte, Henry, 14 Holmhead Street, Glasgow. 

Whyte, John, " The Highlander," Inverness. 

Wilson, George, S.S.C., 14 Hill Street, Edinburgh. 


Macdougall, Charles, Church Street, Inverness. 
Mackay, James John, Drummond, Inverness. 


Cameron, Rev. John, Glen-Urquhart. 

Gumming, James, " Advertiser " Office, Inverness. 

Eraser, Simon, banker, Lochcarron. 

Grant, John, 16 Inglis Street, Inverness. 

Kennedy, David, farmer, Drumashie, Inverness. 

Macbean, Ex-Baillie Alex., Inverness. 

Munro, John, wine merchant, Inverness. 



Ossian's Poems (H. Society's edition, ) Colonel Mackenzie 

Gaelic and Latin), 3 vols., . . J of Parkrnouut. 

Smith's Gaelic Antiquities, . . . ditto. 

Smith's Seann Dana, .... ditto. 
Highland Society's Report on Ossian's 

Poems ..... ditto. 

Stewart's Sketches of the Highlands, 2 vols., ditto. 

Skene's Picts and Scots, .... ditto. 

Dan Osiein Mhic Fhinn, .... ditto. 

Macleod's Oran Nnadh Gaelach, . . ditto. 

An Teachdaire Gaelach, 1829-30, . . ditto. 

Carew's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, . Mr. W. Mackay. 

Grain Ghilleashuig Grannd, t\vo copies, . Mr. Charles Mackay. 

Macconnoll's Reul-eolas, .... ditto. 

Maclauchlan's Celtic Gleanings, . . Rev. Dr. Maclauchlan. 


Maclauchl an's Early Scottish Church, . ditto. 

The Dean of Lismore's Book, . . . ditto. 

Macleod & De war's Gaelic Dictionary, . ditto. 

Highland Society's do., 2 vols., . . Sir "Ken. S. Mackenzie 

of GairJoch. Bart. 

Ritson's Caledonians, Picts, and Scots, . ditto. 

Dr. Walker's Hebrides, 2 vols., . . ditto. 
Campbell's Language, Poetry, and Music of 

the Highland Clans, . . . Mr. John Murdoch. 
Macnicol's Remarks oa Dr. Johnson's Tour 

in the Hebrides, . . . . ditto. 

Somer's Letters from the Highlands, . ditto. 

Cameron's Chemistry of Agriculture, ditto. 

Sketches of Islay, . . . . ditto. 

216 Gaelic Society of Inverness. 


Cameron's History of Skye, . . . Mr. John Murdoch. 

Kennedy's Bardic Stories of Ireland, . ditto. 

Hicky's Agricultural Class-book, . . ditto. 

Grain Ghaelach Mhic Dhunleibhe, . . ditto. 

The Wolf of Badenoch, . . ' . . ditto. 

Familiar Illustrations of Scottish Life, . ditto. 

Antiquity of the Gaelic Language, . . ditto. 

The Dauntless Eed Hugh of Tyrconnell, . ditto. 

The Kilchoman People Vindicated, . . ditto. 

Caraid a' Ghael Sermon, . . . ditto. 
Highland Clearances the cause of Highland 

Famines, ..... ditto. 

Co-operative Associations, . . . ditto. 

Lecture, ....... ditto. 

Review of " Eight Days in Islay," . . ditto. 

Gold Diggings in Sutherland, . . . ditto. 

Review of Language of Ireland, . . ditto. 

Highland Character, .... ditto. 

An Teachdaire Gaelach, 1829-30, . . ditto. 

The Scottish Regalia, .... ditto. 

Campbell's West Highland Tales, 4 vols., . Mr. Alex. Mackenzie. 

Bliadhna Thearlaich, .... ditto. 

Macfarlane's Collection of Gaelic Poems, . Miss Hood. 

Old Gaelic Bible (partly MS.), . J. Mackenzie, M.D., 

of Eileanach. 

Machale's, Archbishop, Irish Pentateuch, . Canon Bourke. 

Irish Translation of Moore's Melodies, . ditto. 
The Bull " Ineffabilis " (Latin, English, 

Gaelic, and French), . . . ditto. 

Celtic Language and Dialects, . . . ditto. 

Bourke's Irish Grammar, .... ditto. 

Bourke's Easy Lessons in Irish, . . ditto. 

Mackenzie's Beauties of Gaelic Poetry, . Rev. W. Ross, Rothe- 


Macrimmon's Piobaireachd, . . . Rev. A. Macgregor. 

Stratton's Gaelic Origin of Greek and Latin, ditto. 
Gaelic Translation of Apocrypha (by Rev. 

A. Macgregor), .... ditto. 

Buchanan's Historia Scotise, . . . Mr. William Mackay. 

The Game Laws, by R. G. Tolmie, . . Mr. William Mackay. 

St. James's Magazine, vol. i., . . . Mr. Mackay, book- 
seller, Inverness. 



Fingal (edition 1762), .... 

Collection of English Poems (2 vols.), 
Philologic Uses of the Celtic Tongue, 
Scoto-Celtic Philology, .... 


Dana Oisein (Maclauchlan's edition), 
Munro's Gaelic Primer, .... 
M' Alpine's Gaelic Dictionary, . 
M'Mhuirich's " Duanaire," 
Munro's Gaelic Grammar, 
Grain Mhic-an-t-Saoir, .... 
Grain Uilleam Eos, .... 
Ceithir Searmoin, le Dr. Dewar, 
Carsewell's Prayer Book (Gaelic), 
Scot's Magazine (1757), . 
History of the EebeUion, 1745-46, . 

Welsh Bible, 

Old Gaelic New Testament, 
Adhamh agus Eubh (Adam and Eve), 

Old Gaelic Bible, 

Grain Ailein Dughalaich, .... 
Macpherson's Poems of Ossian, 


An Gaidheal for 1873, . 
Grain, cruinnichte le Mac-an-Tuairnear, 

The Gospels, in eight Celtic dialects, 
Eraser of Knockie's Highland Music, 


The Clan Battle at Perth, by A. M. Shaw, 
The Scottish Metrical Psalms, . 
Sailm Dhaibhidh Ameadreachd (Ed. 1659). 


C. Eraser-Mackintosh, 

Esq., M.P. 
Mr. D. Mackintosh. 
Mr. D. Maciver. 
Lord leaves, LL.D., 


Maclachlan & Stewart, 

Mr. A. Macbean. 
Mr. D. Mackintosh. 
Mr. L. Mackintosh. 
Mr. L. Macbean. 

The Publishers. 

Mr. A. Mackintosh 

Shaw, London. 
Mr. J. Mackay, 

Mr. Mackenzie, Bank 

Lane, Inverness. 

The Author. 

Mr. J. Eraser, Glasgow. 

Biographical Dictionary 
Scotsmen (9 vols.), . 
Grain Ghilleasbuig Grannd, 
Clarsach nan Beann, 

of Eminent ) Mr. A. E. Macraild, 

j Inverness. 
Mr. J.Craigie, Dundee, 

218 Gaelic Soc/ely of In vern ess. 


Fulangas Chriosd, Mr. J. Craigie, Dundee. 

Dain Spioradail. ..... ditto. 

Spiritual Songs (Gaelic and English), . ditto. 

Alexander Macdonald's Gaelic Poems, . ditto. 

Grain Mhic-an-t-Saoir, .... ditto. 

Leabhar nan ceist, ..... ditto. 

Co-eigneachndh Soisgenlach (Boston), . ditto. 

History of the Druids (Toland's), . . ditto. 

Melodies from the Gaelic, * . . ditto. 

Maclean's History of the Celtic Language, ditto. 

Leabhar Sailra, ..... ditto. 

Origin and Descent of the Gael, . . ditto. 

Stewart's Gaelic Grammar, . . . ditto. 

Macpherson's Caledonian Antiquities (1768), ditto. 

Biboul Noimbh (London, 1855), . . ditto. 

Searmona Mhic Dhiannaid, . . . ditto. 

Dain Oisein, ...... ditto. 

Fingal (1762), . . . . ditto. 

Life of Columba (1798), . . -. ., ditto. 

Grain Rob Duinn Mhic Aoidh, . . ditto. 

Dain leis an LTrr. I. Lees, . . . ditto. 

Searmoua leis an Urr. E. Blarach, . . ditto. 

Euglais na h-Alba, leis an Urr. A. Clare, 

Inbhirnis, . . . . Ditto. 

Bourke's Aryan Origin of the Gaelic Rac3, Mr. J.Mackay, S wansea 

Reed's Bibliotheca fccoto-Celtica, . . ditto. 

Munro's Gaolic Primer (3 copies in library), Purchased. 

Euchdraidh na h-Alba, le A. Mac Coiimich 

(3 copies), ..... The Author. 

Dain Gailig leis an Urr. I. Lees, . . Rev. Dr. Lees, Paisley. 

Philologic Uses of the Celtic Tongue, by 

Professor Geddes (1872), . . . The Author. 

Philologic Uses of the Celtic Tongue 

(1873), .... 'x, yf . ditto. 

Poems by Ossian, in metro (1796) . . Mr. Alex. Kennedy, 


Proceedings of the Historical and Archaeo- 
logical Association of Ireland (1870-3), The Society. 

Shaw's Gaelic Dictionary (1780), . . Rev. A. Macgrogor. 

History of the Culdees, Maccal! urn's, . ditto. 

Macd iar mi d's Gaelic Sermons (MS., 1773), ditto. 

Gaelic Grammar, Irish character (1808), . ditto. 

Library. 2 


Gaelic Pentateuch, Irish character, . . Rev. A. Macgregor. 

Gaelic Book of Common Prayer (1819), . dilto. 

Gaelic Psalter, Irish character, . . . ditto. 

Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inver- 
ness, vol. i., ii., iii., and iv., . 

Bibliotheca Scoto-Celtica, 

Grain lo Kob Donn, .... 

Leabhar Oran Gaidhealach, 

Vible Casherick, Manx, .... 

Biobla Naotutha, Irish, .... 

Dr. Smith's Seann Dana, 

Evans's Wel^h Grammar and Vocabulary, 

Grain Uilleam llos, .... 

Grain Dhonncha Bhnin, .... 

Co-chruinneachadh Grain Gailig, 

Book of Psalms, Irish, .... 

Grain Nuadh Gaidhelach, le A. Macdhomh- 

Laoidhean o 'n Sgriobtuir, D. Dewar, 

Leabhar Gran Gailig, .... 

Am Biobla Naomtha (1690), . 

The Family of lona, .... 

Grant's Origin and Descent of the Gael, . 

Eathad Dhe gu Sith, .... 

Dain Spioradail, Urr. I. Griogalach, . 

Dara Leabhar airson nan Sgoilean Gaidh- 
ealach, ..... 

Treas Leabhar do. do., . 

What Patriotism, Justice, and Christianity 
demand for India, 

Grain Ghaidhealach, .... 

Priolo's Illustrations from Ossian, . . Purchased. 

Photograph of Gaelic Charter, 1408, . Eev. "W. Eoss, 


The Celtic Magazine, vol. i., . . The Publishers. 

Elementary Lessons m Gaelic, . . . The Author. 


Stewart's Gaelic Grammar, . . . Mr. D. Macintosh. 

Proceedings of the Historical and Archre- 1 

ologtcal Association of Ireland, ! The Society. 

1874-5 (2 parts), ... . j 

Do. do., 1876 (3 parts), ditto. 


Gaelic Society of Inverness. 


Irish Pedigrees, by O'Hart, 

Dan an Deirg agus Tiomna Ghuill (English 
Translation), 2 copies, . 

Transactions of the Gaelic Society of In- 
verness, vol. v., . 

Gaelic and English Vocabulary (1741), 

Aryan Origin of the Celtic Eace and 
Language, ..... 

Old Map of Scotland (1745), . 

Collection of Harp Music, 

Valuation Eoll of the County of Inverness 
(1869-70), . . . 
Do. do., Ross (1871-72), . 

Inverness Directory (1869-70), 

Greek Testament, ..... 

Greek Lexicon, . *;-.; . 

Gospel of St. John adapted to the Hamil- 
tonian System (Latin), . 

Histoire de Gil Bias de Santillane (French), 

Prophecies of the Brahan Seer, 2nd edition, 

My Schools and Schoolmasters, 

Gaelic Etymology of the English Language, 
Dr. Charles Mackay, . 

Transactions of Gaelic Society of Inverness, 
vol. vi., ..... 

The Highland Echo, . . 

The Highlander Newspaper from beginning 
up to date, ..... 

Hebrew Celtic Affinity, Dr. Stratton, 

Proceedings of the Historical and Archaeo- 
logical Society of Ireland, 1877 
Parts L, II., III., IV., . . 

Illustrations of Waverley, published for 
the Eoyal Association for promoting 
the Fine Arts in Scotland (1865), . 

Illustrations of Heart of Midlothian, do. 

do. (1873), 

Illustrations of The Bride of Lammermoor, 

do. do. (1875), .... 
Illustrations of Eed Gauntlet, do. do. (1876), 


The Author. 
Mr. C. S. Jerram. 

Eev. A. M'Gregor. 
Mr. John Mackay, 

Mr. Colin M'Callum, 

Mr. Charles Fergusson. 




Mr. A. Mackenzie. 
Mr. James Eeid. 

J, Mackay, Swansea. 


The Author. 

The Society. 

Miss Eraser, Farraline 
Villa, N. Berwick. 




Gaelic Society of Inverness